TLS/LSLer 3rd year assoc. seeking advice

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Fiero85
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TLS/LSLer 3rd year assoc. seeking advice

Post by Fiero85 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:54 pm

[redacted]
Last edited by Fiero85 on Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.

lolwat
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by lolwat » Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:28 pm

I read the main concern to be how healthy your current firm's practice area is going to be after Rockstar leaves and what your future will look like in that practice area. You don't really seem to address this as much when you're discussing Firm Y. What is it about Firm Y that makes you think your future in this practice area will be better than at Firm X? Is it just because that one partner at Firm Y is developing into a rockstar in this practice area, while most of the partners at Firm X are either older or part-time? I don't know enough about the situation, even after reading your post, but I find this to be a potentially exciting opportunity to work yourself into Rockstar #2 at Firm X, which you seem to note is a possibility. It seems to me that you should have a conversation with the Co-Chair about your future role in the practice group and maybe try to set yourself up to be the next Rockstar there. My suspicion--especially given your talk about how great the people at the firm are--is the older A-listers will probably be happy seeing a younger person wanting to take the lead and the part-timers will probably be equally happy because they can stay part-time while somebody else takes the lead.

A second concern seems to be the age gap, which results in a lack of social connections and the feeling of isolation. This is more difficult to deal with, but I would try to address it at your current firm by finding ways to go hang out with other people outside the firm. I find most people at firms are in their office to work during the day anyway, so most social activity (other than random chatting for a couple minutes here and there in the kitchen or coffee room) happens during lunch and in the evenings outside the office. So why not look at alternatives like just going out for lunch with your friends from other firms, or sign up and attend 1-2 networking functions in your area a week, just so you get out there and be social? It seems you're already doing a lot of business development activity which also helps.

And the third main concern seems to be your work environment and mental health issues. That is, the people at Firm X are genuinely nice people, and the firm has been understanding your issues and low hours. And you don't know whether people at Firm Y would be equally good people and understanding about your mental health issues. I would not look at this as that you are "indebted" to Firm X (even though you may justifiably feel that way, and they may be disappointed if you leave after they've invested in you). I would consider more whether (1) the people at Firm X are just genuinely good people and (2) how much stress is relieved (and how helpful it is to your mental health issues) by the leniency they've shown and might keep showing. This is actually really important because (1) if you end up working with assholes, your depression could get worse than just having an age gap and some social isolation, and (2) if Firm Y shows no leniency, then you're either going to have to step up immediately or risk getting fired, which will create a ton of stress you probably don't need. Finally, I'd also consider how a move like this might impact your mental health to begin with. I find that a change helps when the current situation is toxic (which it isn't here), but a change itself can often be stressful.

All that to say: I'd stay at Firm X because it just doesn't seem like a transition to Firm Y yields enough potential benefit to offset the risks it carries. If you're out in the community and especially in this practice area and have been building relationships, your current opportunity at Firm Y probably won't be the only one you ever have if you decide a few years down the road you need to leave Firm X. In the meantime, see what you can do at Firm X to develop yourself into the next Rockstar.

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Fiero85
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Fiero85 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:29 pm

I really appreciate that you took the time to read over this and reply substantively. I'm gonna read it well over before replying. But thank you, I'm feeling pretty lost.

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pancakes3
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by pancakes3 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:13 pm

i don't see any substantive, or direct reasons to move firms.

and i'm a little confused bc you said you've got classmates at your firm - just not in your practice group or floor of the building. any reason... not to hang out with them? at lunch or whatever?

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Fiero85
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Fiero85 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:13 pm

The answer to most of this is: I'm probably overreacting.

I'll be back with full answer attempts. Thank you both

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Jubo
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Jubo » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:10 am

We need to talk about your definition of the color red.

Re: your post, you prob have at least a year-long window to decide if the new structure w/o Rockstar works out. You can always lateral later. Plus, if you aspire to be Rockstar 2.0, a partner who doesn't want to do as much work is a good opportunity for you to get in front of the clients more. It's more work/grinding for you, but partner might appreciate the associate who volunteers to respond to clients' emails while she's at her kid's music recital.

If Rockstar's clients start feeding Firm X less work, then it's time to lateral, but in such a small practice group, you'd notice this happening.

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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by lolwat » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:16 am

Jubo wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:10 am
We need to talk about your definition of the color red.
I just noticed this and assumed the post had described it as orange

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Fiero85
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Fiero85 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:33 am

I deserve the roasting re: orange being called red lol, I wrote the description before the diagram and I didn't do back to change it. :oops:

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Fiero85
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Fiero85 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:12 pm

lolwat wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:28 pm
I read the main concern to be how healthy your current firm's practice area is going to be after Rockstar leaves and what your future will look like in that practice area.

Correct

You don't really seem to address this as much when you're discussing Firm Y. What is it about Firm Y that makes you think your future in this practice area will be better than at Firm X? Is it just because that one partner at Firm Y is developing into a rockstar in this practice area, while most of the partners at Firm X are either older or part-time?

The last question is pretty much it, other than Firm Y being national and having a much more diversified source of business, and more associates to back up the partners there. The budding rockstar at Firm Y has indicated that a lot of his success has come from building his practice out geographically. But yes, my main concern is that the Firm X A List folks will just coast into retirement in the next 5-10 years and the B Listers won't have much interest in keeping the department on top, competitively, creating problems for me.

I don't know enough about the situation, even after reading your post, but I find this to be a potentially exciting opportunity to work yourself into Rockstar #2 at Firm X, which you seem to note is a possibility. It seems to me that you should have a conversation with the Co-Chair about your future role in the practice group and maybe try to set yourself up to be the next Rockstar there. My suspicion--especially given your talk about how great the people at the firm are--is the older A-listers will probably be happy seeing a younger person wanting to take the lead and the part-timers will probably be equally happy because they can stay part-time while somebody else takes the lead.

I think this is the part that I have not given enough consideration to. While I have given it a quick daydream level of consideration, it seems that this is the key positive perspective on the current situation to think over and talk about within my group. And if Rockstar is willing to take some time with me and give me advice on how to pull it off short term and long term, that would make it all the more reasonable of a possibility. I would think he would be willing to.

A second concern seems to be the age gap, which results in a lack of social connections and the feeling of isolation. This is more difficult to deal with, but I would try to address it at your current firm by finding ways to go hang out with other people outside the firm. I find most people at firms are in their office to work during the day anyway, so most social activity (other than random chatting for a couple minutes here and there in the kitchen or coffee room) happens during lunch and in the evenings outside the office. So why not look at alternatives like just going out for lunch with your friends from other firms, or sign up and attend 1-2 networking functions in your area a week, just so you get out there and be social? It seems you're already doing a lot of business development activity which also helps.

Yeah I suppose my concerns over social isolation/loneliness can be addressed if I try to be the person who reaches out more often and schedules more social and BD stuff. Re: my group, I've always had an urge to be good friends with the people I work with, but maybe it isn't necessary. For example, Rockstar isn't really "friends" with most of the group and seems to get that from other people at the firm/outside of work entirely.

And the third main concern seems to be your work environment and mental health issues. That is, the people at Firm X are genuinely nice people, and the firm has been understanding your issues and low hours. And you don't know whether people at Firm Y would be equally good people and understanding about your mental health issues. I would not look at this as that you are "indebted" to Firm X (even though you may justifiably feel that way, and they may be disappointed if you leave after they've invested in you). I would consider more whether (1) the people at Firm X are just genuinely good people and (2) how much stress is relieved (and how helpful it is to your mental health issues) by the leniency they've shown and might keep showing. This is actually really important because (1) if you end up working with assholes, your depression could get worse than just having an age gap and some social isolation, and (2) if Firm Y shows no leniency, then you're either going to have to step up immediately or risk getting fired, which will create a ton of stress you probably don't need. Finally, I'd also consider how a move like this might impact your mental health to begin with. I find that a change helps when the current situation is toxic (which it isn't here), but a change itself can often be stressful.

This may be something I was previously glossing over, but shouldn't. Thank you for pointing it out. I think you are spot on that there is significant risk that a move, or worse, a move to a place with less lenient culture on this problem, could be a big stressor.

All that to say: I'd stay at Firm X because it just doesn't seem like a transition to Firm Y yields enough potential benefit to offset the risks it carries. If you're out in the community and especially in this practice area and have been building relationships, your current opportunity at Firm Y probably won't be the only one you ever have if you decide a few years down the road you need to leave Firm X. In the meantime, see what you can do at Firm X to develop yourself into the next Rockstar.
Thanks again for this, sincerely. My replies in bold.

Your response has me considering the potential bright side of the situation more and given me some pause on making a jump without defining the actual benefits of Firm Y thoroughly enough.

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Fiero85
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Fiero85 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:25 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:13 pm
i don't see any substantive, or direct reasons to move firms.

and i'm a little confused bc you said you've got classmates at your firm - just not in your practice group or floor of the building. any reason... not to hang out with them? at lunch or whatever?
Thanks, having thought about this more over the weekend, I may be a little thin on the bolded above.

Re: friends at Firm X, my main struggle with that has been that the associates at my firm tend to either go out as a practice group or eat lunch solo. I think I'll just have to suck it up and be the invite sender if I want to break that cycle.

Further, I've been kind of ashamed to have actual talks with them about work because (as far as I know) they are all doing a lot better than me professionally. Two of them are in our business lit group and they hit 2100+ without even asking for work and the other three are in transactional groups that are pretty busy as well and win things like "30 Under 30" for my metro area.

I think my perceived lack of "fitting in" because I've had a crappy last 1-2 years at the firm has driven me to have really shallow/small talk relationships with them, and I used to be a lot more authentic of a friend. Probably just gotta fake it till I make it on that part.

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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Pleasy E » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:28 pm

Everything I just read points to not leaving and seeing how things go at your current firm for the next 6 months to a year.

Also Rockstar going to his client doesn’t really mean the work is leaving. when work comes up that he can’t do alone/doesn’t have time for he’ll feed it to your firm.

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Fiero85
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Fiero85 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:30 pm

Jubo wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:10 am
Re: your post, you prob have at least a year-long window to decide if the new structure w/o Rockstar works out. You can always lateral later. Plus, if you aspire to be Rockstar 2.0, a partner who doesn't want to do as much work is a good opportunity for you to get in front of the clients more. It's more work/grinding for you, but partner might appreciate the associate who volunteers to respond to clients' emails while she's at her kid's music recital.

If Rockstar's clients start feeding Firm X less work, then it's time to lateral, but in such a small practice group, you'd notice this happening.
Thank you, this is a helpful insight. Being hasty on this would probably be a mistake and it is probably best to see how 2020 develops. And there seems to be a consistent good point in the responses that, assuming I can get "with it" and do a lot of my group's work, this might be a good opportunity after all.

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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Fiero85 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:37 pm

Pleasy E wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:28 pm
Everything I just read points to not leaving and seeing how things go at your current firm for the next 6 months to a year.

Also Rockstar going to his client doesn’t really mean the work is leaving. when work comes up that he can’t do alone/doesn’t have time for he’ll feed it to your firm.
I appreciate your comment, Pleasy. You make a good point that patience is good thing and that some of Rockstar's megaclient work might stay with us. The nature of our practice area is such that he can probably handle a lot of it, but idk. More important is to see whether his book of business minus that client stays, which is a big chunk as well. But you are right that I shouldn't jump the gun and assume the worst.

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heythatslife
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by heythatslife » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:10 pm

Fiero85 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:37 pm
More important is to see whether his book of business minus that client stays, which is a big chunk as well. But you are right that I shouldn't jump the gun and assume the worst.
I'd be more worried about this if Rockstar is jumping ship to another firm, but given that he's just going in-house, this makes it less likely that the bulk of his business will leave your current firm as long as the current clients are reasonably satisfied with the work your group has been doing.

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Fiero85
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Fiero85 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:47 pm

heythatslife wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:10 pm
Fiero85 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:37 pm
More important is to see whether his book of business minus that client stays, which is a big chunk as well. But you are right that I shouldn't jump the gun and assume the worst.
I'd be more worried about this if Rockstar is jumping ship to another firm, but given that he's just going in-house, this makes it less likely that the bulk of his business will leave your current firm as long as the current clients are reasonably satisfied with the work your group has been doing.
Thanks for commenting. I agree with this sentiment, it is a big positive for client retention that he is not switching firms or starting his own.

My concern is based upon his client book (other than Megaclient) being some of the highest profile and most demanding of my group's clients, and that the relationships will degrade if they don't have someone like Rockstar (nearly constant access/charisma, along with high competence ) at the helm. I certainly don't have the competence and experience level yet to be QB for those clients, and I am concerned who will do it (among the aging A List and work/life balance focused B List). But, as pointed out by other commenters, perhaps we can pull it off as a team by the partners handling the high competence part and myself handing the "client availability/behind the scenes hours" part.

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pancakes3
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by pancakes3 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:05 pm

I mean, you're anticipating problems but nothing bad's happened yet - and if things do start to fall apart, it won't be so precipitous that you won't be able to protect yourself by lateraling later.

that's what i mean when i said that you don't have any substantive reasons. everything's just an if built off an if built off an if.

and on the other hand - there are several substantive reasons to stay, namely genuinely nice partners who are demonstrably cool w your mental health issues and understanding about your billables.

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Fiero85
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Fiero85 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:08 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:05 pm
I mean, you're anticipating problems but nothing bad's happened yet - and if things do start to fall apart, it won't be so precipitous that you won't be able to protect yourself by lateraling later.

that's what i mean when i said that you don't have any substantive reasons. everything's just an if built off an if built off an if.

and on the other hand - there are several substantive reasons to stay, namely genuinely nice partners who are demonstrably cool w your mental health issues and understanding about your billables.
Thank you for keeping me honest, so to speak, about the bolded. I suspect my emotions and impatience are trying to take over.

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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Pleasy E » Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:22 pm

I think you are feeling like you got this possible offer and there is some change going down at your firm and you’re not sure if you’ll be able to leave with the same opportunity if 6-12 months so you’re getting anxious (totally understandable).

But there’s no reason to think you won’t have the opportunity to later in the next year or so if you need to. Like someone said above, there are some pretty good reasons to stay at your current firm and no real drawbacks currently.

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-__________________-
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by -__________________- » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:32 pm

Others seem to have given you good advice on the lateral decision so I'm going to offer some advice on a different topic which is that you should delete your initial post before someone who knows you or your firm sees it

lolwat
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by lolwat » Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:38 am

I hadn't thought that much about it, but -___________________- (how many underscores is it?) is probably right. There's enough information in the original post to identify who you are if someone familiar with that firm/practice group/situation saw this post. It seems to me the thread served its purpose already in terms of the advice you got, although I'm sure people are happy to follow up if you have any questions or concerns about any advice given so far. It does seem like you'll have to put in quite a bit of work on both the work front (to become the next rockstar) and the social front (so you remain engaged with people and feel less isolated) while you see what happens in the next year or so. But maybe that motivation and staying busy will also help things. (I have little personal experience but from being around people that suffer from depression/anxiety, it seems to get worse when they aren't staying busy.)

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Fiero85
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Fiero85 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:17 pm

Pleasy E wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:22 pm
I think you are feeling like you got this possible offer and there is some change going down at your firm and you’re not sure if you’ll be able to leave with the same opportunity if 6-12 months so you’re getting anxious (totally understandable).

But there’s no reason to think you won’t have the opportunity to later in the next year or so if you need to. Like someone said above, there are some pretty good reasons to stay at your current firm and no real drawbacks currently.
Thank you for the additional comment. I agree that my main anxiety over this is that the number of associate positions that open up in this space are few and far between. That said, it is probably too hasty of me to be freaking out this much and dismissing the positives.

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Fiero85
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Re: TLS/LSLer seeking lateral choice advice

Post by Fiero85 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:21 pm

-__________________- wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:32 pm
Others seem to have given you good advice on the lateral decision so I'm going to offer some advice on a different topic which is that you should delete your initial post before someone who knows you or your firm sees it
lolwat wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:38 am
I hadn't thought that much about it, but -___________________- (how many underscores is it?) is probably right. There's enough information in the original post to identify who you are if someone familiar with that firm/practice group/situation saw this post. It seems to me the thread served its purpose already in terms of the advice you got, although I'm sure people are happy to follow up if you have any questions or concerns about any advice given so far. It does seem like you'll have to put in quite a bit of work on both the work front (to become the next rockstar) and the social front (so you remain engaged with people and feel less isolated) while you see what happens in the next year or so. But maybe that motivation and staying busy will also help things. (I have little personal experience but from being around people that suffer from depression/anxiety, it seems to get worse when they aren't staying busy.)
Thank you both, and I will do that. I tried to be as generic as possible, but I also wanted the request for advice to have enough context. I agree that I have received helpful responses and this may be it for now on the topic.

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