Categories:United States

The known unknowns

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  • Who are the 6% whose "main motivator for joining a US firm" is "work/life balance"

    And do they want to buy some magic beans?

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  • This is a pretty dumb analysis. Don't you think it might have something to do with the fact that, for most associates with 8+ years PQE, joining the top-paying US firms is not an option? Firms like Latham and Weil can truly have their pick of the best UK associates from the best UK firms and need only a handful of lateral associates as they are increasingly growing from within via their own trainees. Also 8+ is a funny level to lateral as a non-partner, unless you have been told you are not on partnership track at your current firm, in which case you are far more likely to go "downmarket" to firms like DLA or Bakers where partnership is still far more easily available (although much less lucrative) than the Magic Circle or the top US firms.

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  • Hours since my move have improved (MC to US in corporate). I have to manage my increased responsibility (more attached to my blackberry) but I get flexibility on how I work and my weekends are respected - which makes life a lot better.

    The big paying US firms compete with MC firms are are highly regarded in respect of a narrow range of practice areas (corporate, finance etc), so a survey needs to focus on UK associates actually practicing within areas where a lateral could be possible. A MC employment lawyer may not have heard of Bingham, Weil, K&E, Latham etc, but if a finance lawyer hadn't heard of any of them well they couldn't have been on many decent deals.

    Also sour grapes... is a UK associate getting over 40K less than his US counterpart, for less decent work and the same hours going to talk highly of the US firm... I don't think so. Laterals are hard to make and people will try to justify the pay difference.

    There was an interesting analysis recently looking at the most profitable firms and their global value, no MC firms made it into the top ten...

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  • Not sure what makes Baker & McKenzie, DLA etc "US firms" except the odd email from some figurehead boss in Chicago. These surveys are meaningless if you include UK firms - of course associates will say they would work for the firms they've heard of. Does that mean an ambitious/knowledgeable PE associate would choose DLA above Weil or KE? Pull the other one. My advice for future surveys is to get rid of any firms which are not run from the US.

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  • I work for a US firm with headquarters in California and I would highly recommend it. Great work, collegiate atmosphere, and entrepreneurial spirit. Hours no longer than at my previous UK firms. On the work/life balance issue, I work reduced hours and from home one day a week. We have partners who work reduced hours across the firm (including one male partner). And pay is very good. No brainer to me.

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