what should I be asking before I sign an offer

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Rowdy
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what should I be asking before I sign an offer

Post by Rowdy » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:21 pm

potential follow-up questions I did not ask in my interview
  • what did you bill last month
  • how much do you hate your life
  • when was the last time you saw your children
  • is your air mattress in your office comfortable
no but actually this is a serious post, what do I ask after I receive an offer but before I sign it

lolwat
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Re: what should I be asking before I sign an offer

Post by lolwat » Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:05 pm

I'm of the mindset that you can ask practically whatever the hell matters to you as long as you do it diplomatically. All of the questions you mentioned are probably alright to ask in some form--i.e., what do associates actually bill on average (because every firm advertises what, a 1900 or 1950 billable requirement or whatever but sometimes people bill 2400?), what counts towards billable time (does pro bono / business development hours count?), what time do people tend to arrive/leave the office (and is there any flexibility in setting your hours?), why did people chose that firm over the others they likely had offers from, and so on. I would find it really strange for an offer to be rescinded for these types of questions so long as you aren't a dumbass about it.

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DOT
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Re: what should I be asking before I sign an offer

Post by DOT » Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:24 pm

lolwat wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:05 pm
I'm of the mindset that you can ask practically whatever the hell matters to you as long as you do it diplomatically. All of the questions you mentioned are probably alright to ask in some form--i.e., what do associates actually bill on average (because every firm advertises what, a 1900 or 1950 billable requirement or whatever but sometimes people bill 2400?), what counts towards billable time (does pro bono / business development hours count?), what time do people tend to arrive/leave the office (and is there any flexibility in setting your hours?), why did people chose that firm over the others they likely had offers from, and so on. I would find it really strange for an offer to be rescinded for these types of questions so long as you aren't a dumbass about it.
YES

This can be game breaking

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Rowdy
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Re: what should I be asking before I sign an offer

Post by Rowdy » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:29 am

lolwat wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:05 pm
I'm of the mindset that you can ask practically whatever the hell matters to you as long as you do it diplomatically. All of the questions you mentioned are probably alright to ask in some form--i.e., what do associates actually bill on average (because every firm advertises what, a 1900 or 1950 billable requirement or whatever but sometimes people bill 2400?), what counts towards billable time (does pro bono / business development hours count?), what time do people tend to arrive/leave the office (and is there any flexibility in setting your hours?), why did people chose that firm over the others they likely had offers from, and so on. I would find it really strange for an offer to be rescinded for these types of questions so long as you aren't a dumbass about it.
So my follow up question is: are there other things that should matter to me?

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Slytherpuff
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Re: what should I be asking before I sign an offer

Post by Slytherpuff » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:06 am

A few other things that could be of interest are (a) how many people in their entering class are still at the firm, (b) whether there's an hours requirement to hit a bonus, and (c) whether people typically hit their bonuses.

lolwat
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Re: what should I be asking before I sign an offer

Post by lolwat » Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:14 pm

Rowdy wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:29 am
lolwat wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 6:05 pm
I'm of the mindset that you can ask practically whatever the hell matters to you as long as you do it diplomatically. All of the questions you mentioned are probably alright to ask in some form--i.e., what do associates actually bill on average (because every firm advertises what, a 1900 or 1950 billable requirement or whatever but sometimes people bill 2400?), what counts towards billable time (does pro bono / business development hours count?), what time do people tend to arrive/leave the office (and is there any flexibility in setting your hours?), why did people chose that firm over the others they likely had offers from, and so on. I would find it really strange for an offer to be rescinded for these types of questions so long as you aren't a dumbass about it.
So my follow up question is: are there other things that should matter to me?
That's a bit harder to answer since I've been out so long that my concerns as a lateral might differ from those of someone just starting out.

I'd probably say most associates are probably concerned at some level about (1) compensation, including benefits and bonuses; (2) hours, including expectations and what counts as billable time and what doesn't; (3) job security and firm health, including whether people are sitting around without work, whether you're going to be Latham'd in 18 months when a recession might hit, and if the firm is basically "up or out" by X years in; (4) exit options, so where people have gone after they left the firm; (5) workflow, so how you get your work from partners and such; (6) quality of work, whether you get substantive experience early on and how matters are staffed (e.g. 2 attorneys on a case or 20?) and whether you actually get client contact; (7) what it's like to work at the firm / work for certain partners/ etc; (8) lifestyle and flexibility, including face time and office hour requirements, if you're gonna be in trouble if you have to leave at 5pm every so often to pick up your (child/dog/cat/spouse/dry cleaning/dinner at your favorite restaurant that closes at 6) but are always available and working from home after that; (9) the type of clients you'd be working with, etc...

Probably still missing a bunch of stuff, but that's what I can think of so far.

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