Holding back a class year at new firm

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Holding back a class year at new firm

Post by GuestPoaster » Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:44 pm

I have been very lucky and fortunate during this cycle of job hunt and got about 5 offers from mid to big law in a major market.

I decided to take a pretty significant paycut and go to a firm where I thought I would succeed as a mid-level lawyer. The reason is I have not been doing this particular area of law my entire career, and I don't want to set myself up for failure a year later. I am a litigator and I am sure I can handle the work, but it's a fairly specialized field and I don't know what to expect. I thought that by going in 1 year below and almost guaranteeing to kick ass is better than going into it not knowing what the expectations are. The salary difference is also not significant enough for me to consider ($20K). I don't know how well I communicated this to the firm, but I suspect the firm could also take this as a red flag that I am not confident in my abilities. The firm did mention it was a request they never encountered and that candidates usually always fight for the higher class year. It's sort of a shitty situation because I've had no problem with my performance to date at my current/former firm. I just really want to succeed. For future reference, was this not a good idea?

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Re: Holding back a class year at new firm

Post by heythatslife » Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:43 pm

It's fairly common to take a cut in your class year when lateralling, especially when switching practice area at the same time or you recently changed fields. But my impression is it's usually the firm that suggests it. Either way, surprised that the new firm is surprised. That said, I doubt anyone will think much of it in a few months.

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Re: Holding back a class year at new firm

Post by lolwat » Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:03 am

I wouldn't have done that as a mid-level--or at least I wouldn't be the one to suggest it. I believe it's usually senior level associates who need to take a class hit, or if you're moving from like lit<->corp where you're basically rebooting your legal career. Litigation is litigation, even among specialized fields of litigation. They've looked at your resume, they've interviewed you, they have a sense of what someone coming in without knowledge of the specialized field knows and what you'll need to learn. If they wanted you to take a class hit they would tell you that.

Like heythatslife, I doubt this will have a lasting effect on anything. But it also means you probably just gave up a class year and the 20k salary for probably not a whole lot of benefit.

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Re: Holding back a class year at new firm

Post by Stanford4me » Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:51 pm

I doubt this will have long-term implications. And +1 to heythatslife, I'm familiar with multiple friends who lateraled taking a class year cut for various reasons. Your logic, IMO, makes sense.

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Re: Holding back a class year at new firm

Post by Johannes » Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:01 pm

Gives you another year with lower expectations and to make good money.

In an up or out model, at worst it prolongs your inevitable being asked to leave. At best, it gives you a year to learn and be more partner ready. Since no one is making equity partners on any kind of schedule, certainly not one where 1 year is anything other than marginal, there’s probably no downside here and all upside.

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Re: Holding back a class year at new firm

Post by notachicken » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:09 pm

agree w johannes. more money and less responsibility for longer. idk why you wouldn't do it unless your ego can't handle it

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