{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Considering making a lateral move as a biglaw (Kirkland/Sidley/Cleary/Paul Weiss type firm) mid level litigation associate in a major market to a similar firm in the same market. I don’t dislike my current firm or work, have very strong reviews, and good relationships with some key partners. Main motivation for lateraling is for potential of a significant signing bonus given the current landscape, and general uncertainty about future at my current firm. Would appreciate any advice/insights.", "post_id": "61e5c1ad9dd4b90027e360b7", "reply_count": 14, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5df70ed2f7169f002b172d3f", "bowl_name": "Big Law", "feed_type": "bowl" }

Considering making a lateral move as a biglaw (Kirkland/Sidley/Cleary/Paul Weiss type firm) mid level litigation associate in a major market to a similar firm in the same market. I don’t dislike my current firm or work, have very strong reviews, and good relationships with some key partners. Main motivation for lateraling is for potential of a significant signing bonus given the current landscape, and general uncertainty about future at my current firm. Would appreciate any advice/insights.

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Are there significant signing bonuses for litigators right now? As someone who moved for a signing bonus, I wouldn’t have moved for like $50K if things were fine at my current firm.

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How much did you move for?

Why would you move firms if things are fine? Unless you have honest inside insight on the firm and group you would be lateraling to, you could walk into a seriously toxic situation where you regret leaving your old firm for a one-time signing bonus. If your compensation at the new firm would also be higher, that’s also a consideration.

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Couple reasons, first, have reason to believe culture/work/etc would be similar. Moreover, all biglaw is toxic in many regards. Of course not all are created equal, but we all manage the toxicity as part of the deal. I don’t think there is any honest biglaw attorney who, given a material opportunity to, wouldn’t want to change some aspect of their work environment. Second,there’s always risk that other firm won’t be better, but there’s also always risk in staying - firms, times and market can change . So it’s not a clear to me that the of a new firm experience eclipses the risk of staying - and missing out on an opportunity to capitalize on the markets demand.

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Others have said this before but I am confused as to why you seem to dismiss the political capital so easily. If I am looking at the laterals we had over the years there is one star, a handful of those doing a decent job and a couple I would like to return. However, the latter two groups do not have the advantage (or misfortune depending on how you look at it) of having worked with me for years, do not know my habits, the clients or matters and their mistakes seem so much more glaring.

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A5, this is also part of my thought process, but frankly I’m trying to avoid letting my chronic imposter syndrome keep me from leaving money on the table - especially if partnership is not in the cards when the time comes.

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I am a junior at one of these firms - feel free to dm

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Thanks, edited the main post for slight clarification, I’m already a mid level at one of the above firms. But am considering lateraling to a peer firm for the reasons in the OP. Primarily looking for lateral specific advice as opposed to general culture/vibe based insight.

In a similar position, I’m a RX junior who accepted an offer for a better peer group, but I wasn’t leaving a toxic environment. I’m almost a mid-level and the firm was very interested in recruiting me (also had other offers) but i don’t think a signing bonus was even on the table. RX recruiting has picked up a lot in the new year, but I haven’t heard anything about signing bonuses.

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Can you expand on why you’re uncertain about current firm? As others have mentioned, I wouldn’t discount the value of the reputation you have built up, relationships you’ve built within the firm etc. Starting over again as a new lateral means (at least at first) partners and clients will not trust you, will not be staffing you on the best matters, you’ll always be in line behind longer tenure associates in terms of staffing, getting on committees if you like, getting on client pitches, getting internal and external exposure opportunities, future partnership prospects etc. You can absolutely build your rep back up but it’s a lot of work. If you’re worried you have not built a fantastic rep at current firm, lateraling can help you get a fresh start but you have to have the energy to be all gung ho enthusiastic at your new place, it doesn’t work great when you’re fleeing burnout from one frying pan to another.

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Thanks C1, this is helpful. I have a strong reputation at my current firm, and I don’t think that I could have a materially better rep at a new firm. My uncertainty about the current firm stems from (1) uncertainty if biglaw (or at least at my firm) is what I want long term (5-10 years from now); (2) murky partnership prospects; and (3) a little bit of burnout. Your last point is well taken, and I’ve thought about this. Part of me is curious if a change of scenery would help relight the fire so to speak - maybe a misguided thought.

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