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Author Topic: Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions  (Read 23705 times)

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions
« Reply #50 on: July 09, 2009, 02:22:04 PM »
Just look at the incoming associates vs. how many partners a firm makes each year.  I think Cravath has 100+ SA's but only makes like 5 people partners a year?  Not very encouraging.  However, I doubt former Cravath associates are struggling. I'm sure almost all of them have successful careers.


Well, Cravath is in a league of their own so I wouldn't exactly pick them as a model of Biglaw.  Nevertheless, the general pattern among V-100 firms is pretty much what you describe here - few 8th years, many many many first years.

Imagine a pyramid, at the base are all the first years, above them the second years, and so on.  The further you go up on the pyramid, the small the numbers become until you get to the top where there are only a handful of 8th year associates remaining.

Aside from the aforementioned marketability issue, the other reason this occurs is because the more senior you become the more $ you must be billed out at in order for the firm to remain profitable. 

As a first year Biglaw assoc in NY,  you can expect to be billed out at somewhere around $300-$350/hr. This is "cheap" labor from the law firm's perspective.  7th or 8th year associates are billing out at nearly twice that rate. Partners, depending on the firm, are somewhere around $1,000/hr. 

Mind you, these are billable rates, not to be confused with what you get paid.  Rather, this is what the client must pay for your time.

This is important to bear in mind because the more senior you become the less opportunities there are for you because clients are vehemently opposed to paying, for example, 180 hrs a month for their case at the 8th year associate rate when they can get that same amount of time billed at the first or second year associate rate.  This makes it more difficult for those associates who stay beyond the 4th year mark to actually receive work assignments as abundantly as they did when they were right out of law school.  They usually have to piece their hours together from several different client sources.

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Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions
« Reply #51 on: July 09, 2009, 02:29:51 PM »
Thanks for taking our questions.

You mentioned that you did litigation work in NY, I was wondering if there are many firms in NYC focused on Appelate litigation or if it leans more toward corporate litigation. I know appelate work is very concentrated in DC, do NYC firms produce comparable work in that area?

thanks in advance

T. Durden can probably back me up on this but I think just about every law firm in NY has at least 1 or 2 "go to" people for appellate practice.  Typically somebody who was a Supreme Court or Circuit Court clerk out of law school, and they might be joined by a few other people.  There's not a huge market for it b/c most Biglaw cases, as you mentioned, are more business/corporation oriented and usually are concluded at the Summary Judgment phase before trial even begins.

"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
Charles H. Houston

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions
« Reply #52 on: July 09, 2009, 02:31:33 PM »
Just look at the incoming associates vs. how many partners a firm makes each year.  I think Cravath has 100+ SA's but only makes like 5 people partners a year?  Not very encouraging.  However, I doubt former Cravath associates are struggling. I'm sure almost all of them have successful careers.

Yea but I wonder where do you go after year 7 and you know your not making partner? Lateral? To what? Seems like your priced out of going anywhere but down in income till you get your own pratice going. I mean if you got overlooked at firm X firm Y's not going to make you partner, unless you got a big book of biz in which case your probably be partner at firm X anyway. Wonder what the exit stragey is like when your top of the pay scale but can't go any higher?

See, e.g., T.Durden, Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions, LAW SCHOOL DISCUSSION, 2,
available at http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/students/index.php?action=post;quote=5350415;topic=4020725.40;num_replies=48;sesc=cc4f2ab79e579bd1373b7554f7ad2db1 ("[M]y review is staffed almost exclusively with t20 (many t14) grads, many of whom have 4-8 yrs WE. Believe me, they're not doing DR because they want to. I hate to say it, but it appears to me that this ship be sinkin.'")

;)

ouch from parter track to DR track. I guess that's when you loose the trophy wife


 :D :D :D

Pretty much, man.  Pretty much.

"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
Charles H. Houston

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Re: Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions
« Reply #53 on: July 09, 2009, 02:34:21 PM »
Just look at the incoming associates vs. how many partners a firm makes each year.  I think Cravath has 100+ SA's but only makes like 5 people partners a year?  Not very encouraging.  However, I doubt former Cravath associates are struggling. I'm sure almost all of them have successful careers.


As a first year Biglaw assoc in NY,  you can expect to be billed out at somewhere around $300-$350/hr. This is "cheap" labor from the law firm's perspective.  7th or 8th year associates are billing out at nearly twice that rate. Partners, depending on the firm, are somewhere around $1,000/hr. 




Really? I thought it was more than that! Iím currently billed out at $150 an hour as a law clerk, will go to $450 an hour if I pass the bar. BUT, and this is a big but thatís billing the g-ment when the statue has an attorney fees provision (which is the only statutes we sue on). For other stuff and other clients bill on sliding scale depending on project/case. Plus incidentals (research costs, paper, ink ect.) of course since I work mostly out of my home office (and the only way I want to work, I'll take less $ not to have to put a suit on and deal with other human beings if I can aviod it).
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions
« Reply #54 on: July 09, 2009, 02:52:51 PM »
Just look at the incoming associates vs. how many partners a firm makes each year.  I think Cravath has 100+ SA's but only makes like 5 people partners a year?  Not very encouraging.  However, I doubt former Cravath associates are struggling. I'm sure almost all of them have successful careers.


As a first year Biglaw assoc in NY,  you can expect to be billed out at somewhere around $300-$350/hr. This is "cheap" labor from the law firm's perspective.  7th or 8th year associates are billing out at nearly twice that rate. Partners, depending on the firm, are somewhere around $1,000/hr. 




Really? I thought it was more than that! Iím currently billed out at $150 an hour as a law clerk, will go to $450 an hour if I pass the bar. BUT, and this is a big but thatís billing the g-ment when the statue has an attorney fees provision (which is the only statutes we sue on). For other stuff and other clients bill on sliding scale depending on project/case. Plus incidentals (research costs, paper, ink ect.) of course since I work mostly out of my home office (and the only way I want to work, I'll take less $ not to have to put a suit on and deal with other human beings if I can aviod it).


Naw that's about it.  LoL.  Isn't that high enough as it is?  I certainly didn't think my first year associate brain was worth $300+ bucks an hour, but hey so be it.  I remember looking at my billing statement and I believe by about April or May I had already billed enough hours to pay for my entire annual salary twice!

"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
Charles H. Houston

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Re: Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions
« Reply #55 on: July 09, 2009, 03:26:14 PM »
Just look at the incoming associates vs. how many partners a firm makes each year.  I think Cravath has 100+ SA's but only makes like 5 people partners a year?  Not very encouraging.  However, I doubt former Cravath associates are struggling. I'm sure almost all of them have successful careers.


As a first year Biglaw assoc in NY,  you can expect to be billed out at somewhere around $300-$350/hr. This is "cheap" labor from the law firm's perspective.  7th or 8th year associates are billing out at nearly twice that rate. Partners, depending on the firm, are somewhere around $1,000/hr. 




Really? I thought it was more than that! Iím currently billed out at $150 an hour as a law clerk, will go to $450 an hour if I pass the bar. BUT, and this is a big but thatís billing the g-ment when the statue has an attorney fees provision (which is the only statutes we sue on). For other stuff and other clients bill on sliding scale depending on project/case. Plus incidentals (research costs, paper, ink ect.) of course since I work mostly out of my home office (and the only way I want to work, I'll take less $ not to have to put a suit on and deal with other human beings if I can aviod it).


Naw that's about it.  LoL.  Isn't that high enough as it is?  I certainly didn't think my first year associate brain was worth $300+ bucks an hour, but hey so be it.  I remember looking at my billing statement and I believe by about April or May I had already billed enough hours to pay for my entire annual salary twice!



Haha, yea Iím probably only worth minimum wage, but the statutes award ďreasonable attorneyís feesĒ and so long as you can point to someone making $450 or more (even a partner at Cravath) they will award it to you!
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

M_Cool

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Re: Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions
« Reply #56 on: July 09, 2009, 04:30:55 PM »
As far as appellate practice goes, I'm a 1L summering at a firm (not in a market as big as NYC though) where they have stuck me with the appellate people.  What Burning Sands described is about how it is here.  There is one partner who handles all of the appellate stuff and there are like 2-3 senior associates that are his go to guys.  They also pass stuff to junior associates in the litigation department to help out on sometimes, but that is rather rare except on pro bono matters.  One thing they do give out more freely is the pro bono stuff.  Junior associates love it because they get a lot of control over it (and hence a lot of practical experience running an appellate case).   

On a side note, I love appellate work.  It is very intellectual and it feels a lot like what you do in law school.  It seems very hard to get a lot of it though.  Both the partner + the senior associates doing the appellate stuff here are former SCOTUS / COA clerks. 

T. Durden

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Re: Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions
« Reply #57 on: July 09, 2009, 06:55:26 PM »
As far as appellate practice goes, I'm a 1L summering at a firm (not in a market as big as NYC though) where they have stuck me with the appellate people.  What Burning Sands described is about how it is here.  There is one partner who handles all of the appellate stuff and there are like 2-3 senior associates that are his go to guys.  They also pass stuff to junior associates in the litigation department to help out on sometimes, but that is rather rare except on pro bono matters.  One thing they do give out more freely is the pro bono stuff.  Junior associates love it because they get a lot of control over it (and hence a lot of practical experience running an appellate case).   

On a side note, I love appellate work.  It is very intellectual and it feels a lot like what you do in law school.  It seems very hard to get a lot of it though.  Both the partner + the senior associates doing the appellate stuff here are former SCOTUS / COA clerks. 

yeah, sands is right. we have one appellate level "go to guy" who also happens to have the rep of being (hands down) the sharpest guy in the firm (#1 in his class from HYS + yrs and yrs of extensive / impressive appellate ad exp, etc. etc.). i don't know what it takes to break into such a group, but i'm guessing that i don't have it ;). as such, i guess that i'll just have to review my docs and manage my K attnys. 

quick side note: most associates i know generally try to avoid working for the aforementioned sort of hyper achievers like the plague. i'll leave it up to you to figure out the how / why on that one.

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Re: Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions
« Reply #58 on: July 09, 2009, 10:23:16 PM »
Hey, Sands...

You spoke earlier about how at year 4 a biglaw associate is at his most marketable and can move to prestigious government work, etc.

I was wondering a few things.  Firstly, do big firms hire those who went straight into the Federal government and worked there for a number of years?  (For example, somebody who graduates and goes to DOJ through the honors program or something.)

Secondly, do you think those exit options make working four years at a big firm "worth" it? 

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Jr. BigLaw Associate in NY Taking Questions
« Reply #59 on: July 10, 2009, 12:01:54 AM »
Hey, Sands...

You spoke earlier about how at year 4 a biglaw associate is at his most marketable and can move to prestigious government work, etc.

I was wondering a few things.  Firstly, do big firms hire those who went straight into the Federal government and worked there for a number of years?  (For example, somebody who graduates and goes to DOJ through the honors program or something.)

Secondly, do you think those exit options make working four years at a big firm "worth" it? 

It has been my observation that big firms will hire anybody who will make them money.

Coming right out of law school, that usually means top law school, top of your class, law review, etc.

But for those who do not enter biglaw directly out of law school, if they are good at what they do, especially in a niche field like IP or Labor & Employment, etc. then a firm will view them as a commodity and bring them on b/c they know that individual will make money for the firm.  If you browse the bios of a few of the V-100 firms you'll see that the majority of people came into the firm straight out of law school, however there are a few outliers here or there that didn't, and those outliers usually have valuable work experience that made them attractive to firms.

Regarding your second question, of course I do or I wouldn't be here.  4 years of making contacts, developing your skills as an attorney, and six-figure salary pay while you make up your mind about what you really wanna do in life - sounds like a good deal to me even if you have to grunt it out for the first couple years doing boring ass doc review.  Life could be worse.





"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
Charles H. Houston