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Author Topic: General Advice - from a tax attorney in DC  (Read 1305 times)

MSUDuster

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General Advice - from a tax attorney in DC
« on: May 14, 2005, 12:52:25 PM »
To anyone who's interested. I met another attorney last night, and his advice for law school and jobs seemed pretty good so I thought I'd share it with you.

1) Everyone in law school is smart
2) There are some people who are geniuses that do poorly on exams because they don't know how to take them. There will come a point when it just "clicks" for you, and you suddenly know how to take the exams, best bet is to take old practice exams.
3) The attrition rates for lawyers in large firms is about 30% (he left a large firm making 130k a year to go to a small 10 person firm for 60k)
4) Keep your debt down! He emphasized this a lot. He turned down some great schools because he got a full scholarship at U of Oregon. Having a large amount of debt will force you to take jobs you may not want. Especially if you're interested in public interest law.

That was the gist of it all, I'm sure there was more, but I drank a lot, so I can't remember

Dolcejn

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Re: General Advice - from a tax attorney in DC
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2005, 01:30:02 PM »
Useful - thanks :)
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Intuition

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Re: General Advice - from a tax attorney in DC
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2005, 02:34:18 PM »
To anyone who's interested. I met another attorney last night, and his advice for law school and jobs seemed pretty good so I thought I'd share it with you.

1) Everyone in law school is smart
2) There are some people who are geniuses that do poorly on exams because they don't know how to take them. There will come a point when it just "clicks" for you, and you suddenly know how to take the exams, best bet is to take old practice exams.
3) The attrition rates for lawyers in large firms is about 30% (he left a large firm making 130k a year to go to a small 10 person firm for 60k)
4) Keep your debt down! He emphasized this a lot. He turned down some great schools because he got a full scholarship at U of Oregon. Having a large amount of debt will force you to take jobs you may not want. Especially if you're interested in public interest law.

That was the gist of it all, I'm sure there was more, but I drank a lot, so I can't remember


I'd say in general this is pretty good advice, but I have to contend that (4) isn't really a sound argument. While having a large amount of debt may force you to take jobs you don't want, there's a good chance that if you take a full-ride at a less respected school, you might not be able to get the jobs you want. Just a thought. It all depends on what you want to do.

MSUDuster

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Re: General Advice - from a tax attorney in DC
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2005, 04:45:54 PM »
Yeah, I can see what you mean. I don't know if he had a good network or not, but working at a big dc firm, I'm guessing he did something right. Of course it probably doesn't hurt he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Hmm, I should have asked if he was on law review.

Amanda H.

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Re: General Advice - from a tax attorney in DC
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2005, 05:14:06 PM »
Did he mean the yearly attrition rate is 30%?

Because only a very, very small percentage of associates at large firms ever make partner, meaning the actual attrition rate is much higher.

MSUDuster

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Re: General Advice - from a tax attorney in DC
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2005, 05:31:26 PM »
He meant the attrition rate as in: after the first year, 30% of those associates leave for whatever reason.

Not necessarily becoming a partner, like you said, i'm sure that number is quite low. Does anyone happen to know what % of associates become partners?

V00Jeff

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Re: General Advice - from a tax attorney in DC
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2005, 11:46:35 PM »
For Big DC firms?  I'd say about 10% of new associates make partner at Covington and Burling, Wilmer Cutler, and the DC branches of NY firms.  It seems like it's more like 50% at Arnold Porter...and maybe about 75% for Williams & Connoly.  Those are just my educated guesses, though...
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InVinoVeritas

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Re: General Advice - from a tax attorney in DC
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2005, 11:51:54 PM »
For Big DC firms? I'd say about 10% of new associates make partner at Covington and Burling, Wilmer Cutler, and the DC branches of NY firms. It seems like it's more like 50% at Arnold Porter...and maybe about 75% for Williams & Connoly. Those are just my educated guesses, though...

are these firms growing at ridiculously fast rates?  how on earth can 50-75% of new associates at an estalished law firm eventually be promoted to partner?

taterstol

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Re: General Advice - from a tax attorney in DC
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2005, 12:19:37 AM »
For Big DC firms? I'd say about 10% of new associates make partner at Covington and Burling, Wilmer Cutler, and the DC branches of NY firms. It seems like it's more like 50% at Arnold Porter...and maybe about 75% for Williams & Connoly. Those are just my educated guesses, though...

are these firms growing at ridiculously fast rates?  how on earth can 50-75% of new associates at an estalished law firm eventually be promoted to partner?

Vino I think your intuition is right. I don't think 50% of associates are making partner at any firm here. Covington hires like 50 new associates each year.

V00Jeff

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Re: General Advice - from a tax attorney in DC
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2005, 12:47:47 AM »
I'm not that confident about Arnold Porter...but I really do think it is that way at Williams and Connoly.  They are ridiculously selective in hiring associates -- almost all of them have clerked for a COA, graduated from a T14 school, and either been on the law review or in the top 10% of their class + moot court.  Their general philosophy seems to be that they only hire people that they will actually consider for partner.  Check out their website: they have a little over 100 associates and a little less than 100 partners.  They basically just aren't really a biglaw firm -- it's more of a unique, large DC litigation botique.  That said, 75% might be on the high side...but I doubt it's lower than 50%, and there's no way it's around 10% like the rest of the DC biglaw firms.
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