Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Musings

Hello all. Some of you may have already seen my post, but in case you didn't, I will be guest blogging weekly over at -- my first installment was last Friday. The good folk at have created an excellent source of information on the comings and goings in the law industry. I encourage you to check out their site.

Now, you may be asking: "if HP can barely keep up her own blog, how can she guest elsewhere"? Well, I, too, have had that thought. I'm hoping that being busy just keeps me moving faster. I know I am best when I have multiple deadlines. I am hoping to use my site for specific advice - e.g., when I am answering questions, and more general career guidance. Much of my advice goes beyond BigLaw and even law in general, and relates to general workplace getting along and getting ahead. Over at lawshucks, I will focus on big picture items, I think.

Someone asked about taking multiple bars as a fall back. As in, they are going to work in State A, but think maybe they should take the bars in States B and C to make themselves more marketable. Well, I think it depends on a few factors. Does the firm you are going to encourage multiple bars? I have a friend who works for a firm in DC. They have VA and MD offices. The firm likes for their lawyers, especially litigators, to have DC and one of either VA or MD. Will your firm pay for the dues on other state bars? This is actually an important question and can add up significantly. Another important question my cousin didn't really consider when she took an extra bar were the CLE and other ongoing requirements. She had no interest in the short, or even long, term practicing in the state, yet there were many requirements for ongoing dues and other payments and mandatory CLE. In the end, she had to give up the bar membership since (if I remember correctly), they didn't really have an inactive status that didn't require payments. And, do you have the time to study and take these extra bars? You certainly don't want to take away any time from your main bar, as these days, firms aren't likely to look positively on failing bar results.

Now, moving on to the big picture, I recently got invited to a professional conference. The list of the speakers was set forth in the email. I noticed the name of a man I know, and he was listed at a firm other than the one where I first met him. I was pretty surprised so I googled him and sure enough, he had just moved. Why was I surprised? After all, tons of people make lateral moves. I was surprised because this guy was such a "company man," he had at one time managed the office of the prior firm. When I met him he was super gung ho on the place. I truly saw him as a lifer there. Which brings me to the point. Remember, there is no loyalty in BigLaw. People move for so many reasons. Sometimes they take people with, other times not. Even people who seems like they will sail off into retirement from Firm ABC suddenly make unexpected moves. So, don't go someplace just because you really like Partner Susan, or associate Tom was so fun and hip. It's happened to me that when you show up, those people could already be gone. Really goes back to the point I made on lawshucks last Friday -- and I've made here before -- that you have to always look out for yourself -- whether it is positioning yourself for your own move at some point, or recognizing that you don't want to only work for X because X might leave next week and not take you and then you're hosed because you haven't worked with anyone else. People move, things change. Be careful about hitching your wagon too closely -- be more like a UHAUL attachment that can attach and unattach to various pulls.


Anonymous said...

Useful post, as always. And, as always, I have a completely unrelated question:

I'm a 2L and I managed to secure a summer gig at a BigLaw firm in a primary market. Needless to say, I'm absolutely thrilled. This firm usually takes about 30-40 summers a year. However, given the current economy, they are only taking 6 this summer.

For firms that used to take such large class sizes and that have cut down significantly on their current summer program, are offers more likely? I'm not asking for license to slack this summer, I'm just curious about how worried I should be.

Anonymous said...

would like to second anon's question

Anonymous said...

I'm not HP, just a former summer. My hunch would be that HP has no answer. It's a guess.

Firms aren't publicly traded companies so they don't have to disclose their financial positions. Your firm could be in great/moderate/terrible condition or anywhere in between.

Because the economy seems to be leveling out and partners should have a better idea of work flow for the near future, offer rates should be much higher this summer. I would not worry, but I would be on my game come summer time. Worrying doesn't do you any good anyways.

The fact that they scaled back to 6 should bode well, unless the firm is on the brink on collapse, which is anyone's guess. I have an offer from a firm, which seems stable but I check abovethelaw regularly to see if it has tanked. Things are not quite stable yet.

Anonymous said...

im skeptical of the notion that there's no biglaw loyalty, but even if that's true... maybe that's something wrong with the profession?

i hope to work for the rest of my life at my firm, and am working diligently at it. i love the place, couldnt see myself anywhere else. is there something wrong with that? sure, i do make sure not to close doors needlessly, but i dont like switching allegiances so easily.