Would you leave a midlaw firm for big law. Midlaw firm - slightly under Cravath base, with a bit of compression past year 4 (10-50k under between years 4-9), and fairly insignificant bonuses. Good work life balance insofar as partners understand competing needs (usually) and nobody bills more than 2000 (with rare exceptions). Pretty decent autonomy. Big law firm is in the V60-80 range. Cravath base and bonus. I’d assume less autonomy but bigger cases. (Cont.)

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Depends. I made decent money working for myself for a few years, enjoyed the autonomy, gained courtroom experience, had a gym routine, cute girlfriend, etc. Years later, I was recruited by a well-known firm handling “sexy” cases where the pay is top tier but the work never ends. Candidly, I miss the old days. No longer in shape, things ended with the girl, and I now spend most of my time working. You’d think a guy with a couple million in his late-thirties would be living the dream. Far from it. I had a lot more fun before with far less money and more time to live life. Find a balance.

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I wouldn’t do it. I’ve given up a ton of money to be at my biglaw firm in a secondary market. Was a really good decision for me. How I look at it is if I last a year longer here than there because I’m not burnt out I won.

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Personally, I’d stay. $50-$140k is not worth the potential of giving up some semblance of a work life balance and better partnership prospects when you’re already well paid.

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I think stay it is then. I seems a lot of people leave big law and look for mid size firms around my level (mid to senior) anyways. So I guess that is telling...

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It really depends on the kind of person you are. It takes a particular type of person to thrive at BigLaw. It’s not good or bad just different. I think you have to be willing to put the work above everything else knowing, deep down, that the work doesn’t particularly deserve that kind of priority. I mean, you’re not really helping anyone or curing cancer.

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What do you do now? PI?

Don’t leave for the money. If you think you’ll be happier, that’s a reason. If you’ve got a good gig and you’re enjoying your job think more than twice.

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Is there any reason for the move other than compensation? And do you want to remain in private practice for the indefinite future?

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I took money over other considerations at a reputable local firm and I’m wishing I didn’t. I’d have much more experience and be in a much better position for other opportunities if I went with the smaller firm.

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I had a very similar situation. I took it, promptly got a 25% pay cut due to covid so that my new salary is essentially the same as my old one. I work primarily with an incredibly toxic person and I have none of the goodwill I had built up at the previous firm. I regret it hugely.

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Assume also that 2000 is the floor (vs the higher end in midlaw) Bottom line - between base and bonus, leaving 50-140k on the table. But still making good money, probably better shot at partner. Wwyd

Not a fair question. I worked for a solo first and made a few career jumps until I reached the lower end in BigLaw. I'm not a fan. The work is, mostly, more interesting and it's not like the hours are horribly crazy, but some of the personalities made me realize it's just not worth it. Started looking to jump to a mid-size and hopefully offload some of the drama. Point is, prioritize what is important to you and what you can tolerate. Make a list of things that are deal makers and deal breakers. Then really think on how much those are worth to you.

If big law is something you’ve wanted and the the universe has granted your wish, I say go for it. YOLO and it may bring you other opportunities in the future.

Something more to add. I think my skill development would skyrocket in the bigger firm. Kind of stagnant and self taught at current shop. I put a big premium on that. I know lots of ppl at new firm and they say while it’s big law, it’s not a sweatshop. That also helps.

There’s definitely something to that. I started my career at BigLaw and from a formative stand point, it has molded the way I approach the practice and forced me to elevate my game very early on. Plus it’s a great resume builder, especially if you intend on staying in your field. There’s definitely a notion, especially from BigLaw lawyers, that they’re a cut above the rest and so it opens lateral doors. I used to think that and to some extent still do. (After all I didn’t bust my ass in law school because I was bored). But the moment of truth for me was when I saw a sexagenarian rain maker shlep his way to a cheap hotel at 2:00 am for a status conference the next day that a first year associate could have handled ... I saw the future and didn’t like it.

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