[00:00:00] Today's presentation is that there are only three reasons and attorneys should ever switch law firms and.
[00:00:06]One of the things that I've noticed in my career is that a lot of people a good portion of them, I would say as many as 30 to 40% of people when they do switch firms, a lot of times they do so for the wrong reasons and switching a job as a, is a fairly significant choice. And it's something that really you should not do without quite a bit of thought that goes into it.
[00:00:27] And there are very good reasons to switch jobs and there are reasons that aren't good reasons to switch jobs. You actually may be in a position right now where you should chose switch jobs or you may not be. And I would say when I, sit down and I talked to people that, contact me about switching jobs probably something on neighborhood.
[00:00:46] Of probably 30% of the people I tell not to that I believe that the better off staying where they are. And I'm going to talk to you all about that today. There's a lot of reasons that attorneys switched jobs. But most of these reasons are [00:01:00] misguided.
[00:01:00]I say here that it's probably for are in their situation or just fine, it's somewhere between three and four. And then I would say six have very good reasons for making a switch. And I'm going to talk about the reasons that people give me for switching jobs.
[00:01:15] These may be some reasons that you've had in the past, or they may be, reasons that you'll be thinking about in the future. New max should be entering into a new job which is very common thinking about. That you're going to be leaving in the future, which is never a good idea, but I'll talk more about that as well.
[00:01:31] So here are the three reasons that you really should ever switch shops. The first is you're on the wrong side of the political climate in your office. The second is you don't have access to work. And the third is you can get into a more prestigious firm but that's not always a sufficient reason either.
[00:01:48] And each of these three reasons, I think there's a lot of depth to them, meaning there's a lot of stuff that you can You know, a lot more going on behind the scenes with each of these three reasons. So I'm [00:02:00] going to talk about each of them and quite a bit of debt depth. But one of the things I want to make a, an observation about that's very true is that.
[00:02:09]You never want to be unemployed, so you don't just want to quit a job if one of his reasons is coming up. And and you also need to be very careful about being an unemployed. And if you think you're gonna lose your job then you probably should start looking for a job because the problem is being unemployed and even.
[00:02:25]In, in the current economic climate where a lot of people are losing jobs and so forth even if you're unemployed for any length of time, it becomes much more difficult to get a new job. And the reason for this is basically that if you're unemployed, a law firm assumes that, you unemployed because you couldn't play political games correctly, or maybe.
[00:02:46]Just couldn't get access to work in the firm that you're in and meaning they weren't giving you work or you couldn't get work. And so you're, weren't profitable for the farmer. So these are the sorts of intangibles that are operating in the background. They [00:03:00] determine every future of an attorney inside of a law firm.
[00:03:04] And and then ultimately what happens to them and their legal careers. And, if you don't do these three things well then if you don't get work or play political games the presumption is you're just going to have the exact same problems in your next firm. Law firms typically when they're talking to you they want to figure out how busy you are and and, and if you're and if you're being given a lot of work and they want you to be given a lot of work.
[00:03:28]Because if you're given a lot of work, that means you're a good attorney and doing good work. A lot of times they're senior partners associates and others never really grasp the importance of having access to work and from politics. And that's one of the reasons that the majority of attorneys don't succeed in large law firms and even in mid-sized law firms, a lot of attorneys don't see because they don't understand all of this.
[00:03:51] And law firms also like attorneys that are trying to move into better firms. So if you're trying to move into a better, more prestigious firm, law firms [00:04:00] are always open to that because they want people that are hungry and want, to improve themselves and and are challenging themselves and pushing themselves a ticket to get better.
[00:04:09] And you always, you should always be trying to improve in advance. Okay. So these are the three reasons that you should switch law firms. And the first one is up political meaning. The tide of opinion in the office is against you. And you're not part of the group. What does that mean? So in most law firms, they're individuals that have a lot of business in power, meaning they they have a lot of work and they're giving work to other people.
[00:04:34]They're connected to other people. Politically those people are giving them work as well. They're sticking up for them as well. And they have power to get their ideas done and stuff through. And if you're part of a group with lots of business and power what happens typically is you can advance and make partner without any business.
[00:04:53]People would power to surround themselves with allies and and the people in power, one those, [00:05:00] with who support them make them feel good about themselves and how they can be trusted and show them that they can be trusted. That's really one of the most important things about working in a law firm is being close to people in power.
[00:05:13] And and if you are close to people in power to have work and have political connections and you'll do well. If you are close to those people during laughs and recessions most people that lose their jobs and recessions typically don't have strong enough political allies or their political allies strong enough in the firm.
[00:05:31] And if you have powerful allies, those people. For the most part, we'll protect you during recessions and will spare your jobs. You'll have consistent access to work. Some allegiances are strong, others aren't and it's an example of, parents, for example, always feed their children and country's always paying feed their armies.
[00:05:50]But they don't do that necessarily with other people that aren't as connected to them. So it's important for you to be connected to people. And the same thing goes with people that are closest to [00:06:00] the rainmakers, the Rainmaker feels and allegiance you, they're more likely to protect you and those in power give work to their allies first.
[00:06:08] And and then and then others later on, so you always want to be close to. The right people if you are close to the right people they will teach you if you're an associate or even if you're a partner many times how to get business. And if attorneys with business are supporting you, they're also probably going to teach you how to get business herself.
[00:06:27] And if they don't teach you directly, you're going to watch what they do. And you can. Start seeing how they approach and work prospective clients and how they market themselves and so forth. And you can learn that. So that's one reason it's important to be close to people with business.
[00:06:41] And then also those with business will help you develop your own rainmaking skills and advance within the firm. That's important. Many times powerful people in business will move to new firms. And if they do move to move new firms, they're probably going to bring you along and they will want people close to them that they're supporting to come with them.
[00:06:58] So that's important. And [00:07:00] I see lots of attorneys that have all these moves on their resume and so forth. Because someone in power brought them along and those were business and power always want to bring their allies and to be the eyes and ears that support them at the new firm. And that's important.
[00:07:15] Other thing that happens is if you're connected to the right people, you're going to get important information that can protect your career. Most law firms have a lot of secrets, so those secrets are tied up many times with the people in power business. They will share information with those close to them, who they trust and ones that they don't.
[00:07:33] And this insider information can help attorneys avoid certain people or matters and get close to certain people. It matters and know when and when not to look for jobs, that's important. And so you can, if you learn the stuff you'll get information before other people.
[00:07:48] And so you will be not necessarily acted upon, but you'll learn about things before they happen. If you're a partner there's lots of service partners and top law firms all over the country and major am law firms [00:08:00] that don't have any business and a high proportion of them actually, there's a good, significant number that don't have business.
[00:08:07] And most of those partners are. Close to partners with major clients. So you can become a partner in most firms and stay a partner. Most firms, if you get close to the right people and the partners with major clients and business tend to keep those without clients very busy. And if you don't have business as a partner, then you need to be very close to the right people.
[00:08:27] And people's entire careers have to have very successful careers where they. Make seven figure plus salaries and major law firms just by being close to the right people. And sometimes there's only a one powerful person with all the business and the law firm, and then everyone tries to get close to them.
[00:08:44] And other times there might be several, it just depends on the firm and the office that you're in. But what you need to try to do is you want to be part of the tribe that has that business, where there's that work. It's going to help you be a better lawyer because it's going to give you access to more work and make your skills better, but it's [00:09:00] also going to make you have a much better career.
[00:09:02] And the people that have the business and the power will control, who makes partner who gets compensated the most who gets laid off. And we were discussions who advances and all that sort of stuff. And so if you're not part of that group or if these people are against you and you don't feel like you can fix it, then you're really going to generally have a very difficult time advancing and.
[00:09:24]And most law firms, especially if you're like an associate it's not always easy for you to see who's got the power. However, if you're at the firm a long time it becomes easier to identify those sorts of people. And a lot of times though operate in the background and and you really won't know who they are.
[00:09:42] And sometimes people won't even talk about who they are. But they'll. You'll typically figure it out fairly quickly. And I remember I was in in the, long time ago, I was in a summer associate in a New York law firm and a partner I'd never seen who was very polished. He walked up to me [00:10:00] at a cocktail party.
[00:10:01] He asked me if I was enjoying the experience and I said, I was, and then he said something yeah. Just, that's why I brought you here for the summer. You want you to get a good experience and then he just disappeared as quickly as he shown up. And it didn't seem it didn't, I didn't get a good feeling at the time.
[00:10:16] And because I felt more like what he was saying was, I hope you're enjoying all the money we're spending on you. That's honestly how I felt and it didn't feel good. Even though he was friendly, there was something, a little weird about it. And and then later that summer I learned that the firm had wanted to cancel the summer program because it was so slow in their office.
[00:10:34] They just didn't have enough work. And and then this particular guy that had spoken to me was No the most powerful guy in the office, the one with pretty much most of the business and, like a $30 million book of business. And so what he was really saying was, hope you're enjoying the money I'm spending on you.
[00:10:50] Wasn't obviously do happy that a lot of the money he was bringing in was foot in the summer program, I think. And I think that's what his message was. And then a few years after that, Pasco, I remember [00:11:00] joining a different New York based law firm and The associates I met in the New York office also most of them, they, they spoke of working there for a few years and then going to a different firm.
[00:11:10] And I didn't understand this. I was like, why would you come to work someplace and then want to go to another firm after a few years? I just didn't seem like a, made a lot of sense. And to me, it seemed like the pay was good. The firm was well respected, so why wouldn't you want to stay around there? And what I learned was that most of the young associates and especially in a lot of these very prestigious New York law firms early in their careers that reviewed very harshly.
[00:11:33] And this particular firm had the reputation for doing that. And when those attorneys make mistakes, they get criticized. For political mistakes and other types of mistakes. And then they get a reputation for, to being less than stellar. And and many large law firms the attorneys will leave if they don't have that reputation and only, and that's the only way many times that they believe that there'll be able to advance.
[00:11:57] So instead of taking their chances [00:12:00] somewhere else, where they might be considered less than stellar, many of these attorneys pick up. And then they ended up moving to another firm and in some cases it's the right move. Because they're starting with a flesh rush slate, they realized how competitive things are and and they won't make the same mistakes again.
[00:12:15]And it also gives them the opportunity to build a new reputation and kind of help impress those in power. But one of the reasons I think that, attorneys often move firms for several times before they find a new home is because what they're doing consciously or not. And I, and honestly it could be unconscious because people are there's so much history too.
[00:12:37] Okay. Okay. So looking here, hear how our mind works and preservation and so forth that they may not be doing necessarily consciously, but what they're doing is they want to be, they want to find a group that's going to take care of them or people that are gonna take care of them. And that's one of the most kind of fundamental needs that humans have.
[00:12:55]When we're born, we need, parents to take care of us. Otherwise we die and then we [00:13:00] need to be supported by others. And so I think. When young attorneys don't get approval reflected back to them. Then many times they look for people that will support them and take care of them.
[00:13:11] And and this just continually happens. Seniors attorneys may often also be better off switching Firms if there's no one to take care of them. The people at the most work and clients are the ones that control what happens in the firm. And if you have business you're typically generating my new support.
[00:13:28] The law firm Turners with businesses are like the Kings and everyone is scurrying around to be near them their influence and get their favors. And regardless of how you may be regard to politically impressing the King inside of most law firms is one of the most important things you can do.
[00:13:45] Know of one attorney that was in a major law firm and he was there for nine years, just not doing much working hard, but not doing very much. And then he got onto a trial team With a colleague that had a huge book of business. And he's one of the more well-known [00:14:00] litigators in the United States.
[00:14:01] And for six weeks, he worked with us, a partner in a hotel, in a small Midwestern town while they were doing a trial. And this associate worked very hard anticipated what the partner wanted. Discuss trial strategy and witness who was in them every night and just put everything you had into the case.
[00:14:17] And and then what happened was after a few weeks after returning to the firm to the main office, the partnership voted on new partners and they made him a partner. So it was someone had been poised to. Probably wander off in house or become a counselor or something. And suddenly he became championed by the most powerful partner in the firm.
[00:14:38] And and everybody wants, of course with King wants. This partner, her, this guy ended up becoming a partner is succeeding. If you just are not famous worker drone side of a law firm, which a lot of times they're referred to as grinders inside of firms, then not much has ever going to happen to you.
[00:14:55]You're like a cow sitting out in pasture, just waiting for the ant and you're [00:15:00] getting fed and eating grass, but eventually things are gonna go bad for you. And the only way to rise above all of this is if you understand, you need to get close to the right people. And play the right political games that aren't going to get you in trouble politically.
[00:15:14] And here's some of the political mistakes. I think that young attorneys make older attorneys make them too, but these are the most common Political mistakes that I see a lot of I'm sorry. But I see a lot of younger attorneys but I see a lot of other attorneys make, so the first one is not to make careless technical mistakes but look bad to those in power.
[00:15:35] And what that means essentially is that. Attorneys will often make mistakes earlier in their careers that can destroy their options and and undermine the trust others have now. Sometimes it could be something as simple as founding a wrong document failing to file the right document or failing found a file, a document just giving completely wrong advice.
[00:15:56]It could be for getting an assignment. And just something as simple as [00:16:00] that honestly, can really turn the tide of things against an attorney and patent attorneys I've seen they've made, small mistakes and scientific equations and analysis and and then, the entire office was against them because they made a bad mistake.
[00:16:16]Maybe they filed something with a huge error in it that was rejected. And yeah. And these mistakes are never a lot of times publicly discussed, but they often do result in these patent Turners being blackballed all over the city or wherever and inside of the law firm and to other firms.
[00:16:32]Litigators can forget to file a certain document or file something late. Even many of the best litigators out there can be frozen out just by making one serious mistake. And I've seen this happen to patent attorneys. I've seen this happen to countless patent attorneys actually that more than I can remember lots and lots of litigators and and the idea is that once those in power start seeing.
[00:16:54]Sink thinking negatively, I'm an attorney for making a mistake. It becomes very difficult for that attorney [00:17:00] to recover often impossible. And then those attorneys start looking for new law firms. As a young attorney on, even as a more senior attorney, you always have to be exceedingly careful about making mistakes and just being, very technically competent.
[00:17:14] And sometimes the. The largest firms are, that's even more important, but you need to be very careful all the time. The next thing is you never want to make hairless
[00:17:24]and those remarks, and remarks can be. Real kind of career killer as well. They can be things such as, if someone gives you some work to do and you tell them, it's administrative work, do people do this with powerful partners all the time and then ask someone else to do it?
[00:17:40]I want saw when I was at a firm this is it wasn't a healthy from a, from a lot of standpoints, but I saw a senior attorney, a very powerful senior attorney ask senior real estate attorney, meaning like he's 12, 13 years out of law school to do something.
[00:17:56] And the senior real estate attorney said No that's seems [00:18:00] like a, it was a kind of a, just something very simple that a first-year associate could do. And and you said, couldn't you have someone else do that? This is just seems like I'm really busy and this is an airbrush really very simple task.
[00:18:11] And the senior attorney who had must have had a very shallow ego said, okay. And he walked away and then he came back. Like 20 minutes later, and one hand he had a check and a settlement agreement, and he said, you can either sign this and leave and take this check or you can just be fired now and leave which is just a crazy story.
[00:18:33]But this is what happened with a guy who'd been at a firm for a long time when he was asked to do a piece of administrative work and said, no, it's just maybe the guy was having a bad day. I don't know. Both of them are, but that's what happened. So he took the check and signed the agreement.
[00:18:48]Sometimes people will do things like, they'll say I'm not comfortable working on Saturday or Sunday or have plans. Or this is the sort of work I did as a junior associate. I saw one woman from a Yale law school [00:19:00] once that was a corporate attorney that was very upset that she was being assigned.
[00:19:04]After having worked at a very good firm went to work at a firm that was also very good, but not quite as good was given a lot of. Less responsibility and said that and ran into some problems. So anything that shows lack of commitment of law firms come at and don't like, and in one little remark, many times can doom attorneys it can be very harmful, your facial expressions, body language size and things.
[00:19:30]And I'll be taken the wrong way. And law firms often believe that, the fact that they're giving you work is a privilege and having work is something that attorneys should respect and want to do. And the more work you have the better. When you have work, it helps you build additional hours to tribes, succeed and so forth.
[00:19:48] And. When you're, anytime you turn away work or act like you're too good for it creates problems. There's other careless remarks. If you say something negative about a superior and it gets back to them that can be harmful and destroy [00:20:00] your career. If you make a racist or sexist remark or a Mark, it's taken that way it can hurt you.
[00:20:05]And they can have devastating consequences and so all this stuff can do a lot of harm or you just need to watch your mouth and be careful about the things you say. And understand that words have a lot of power and can cast a negative light off of you and many times that can be permanent.
[00:20:22]You need to be very careful. Okay. Another thing is not to choose the wrong friends. From a political standpoint, and again, this is all kind of law firm politics that I'm teaching you right now. And but it is important. The smartest attorneys are generally cordial, but they're very careful about who their friends are.
[00:20:38]In their firm and politics and law firms is very dicey. So what happens is the smartest and the most political attorneys will typically act friendly with people, but they'll avoid, clear-cut alliances for a long time. And and this is often a very good way to go.
[00:20:55] And because when you choose the right friends that can help you, but if you choose the wrong [00:21:00] friends, it can be a real mistake, especially for young attorneys. And the idea is pretty simple. If you're friends with someone inside of a law firm, that's upsetting people in power.
[00:21:10]And it seemed in the wrong way, then you're just going to be guilty by association, especially if you're not well known to those with power. And therefore, you need to keep your nose clean, be careful about from Alliance, who isn't being nice and friendly to as many people as possible without over committing it.
[00:21:25] And I had something interesting happened to me. I was just thinking this isn't, I don't think in the article, but when I was in high school and my junior year of high school, one of my best friends was basically expelled because he did something. Something very stupid where he anyways, did something very stupid.
[00:21:42] And and something that he thought was funny, but it turned out to not be taken that way and and was expelled. And so he was my friend and everyone knew he was my friend. And asked my math teacher to write me a recommendation for colleges and and the math teacher was happy to do but he had been [00:22:00] on one, one of his friends had been on the receiving end of my friend's prank that he thought was funny.
[00:22:05] And and so he didn't think I was that great of a guy because I was friends with him. So he wrote me recommendations for a few colleges and. And those colleges one of them that ultimately let me in, I got to the bottom of it because they didn't understand why he was writing me such a negative recommendation.
[00:22:22] And they actually called the school and talked to some people and figured out what had happened because they didn't understand when this guy had bad things to say. And the point is that You know that if you get on the wrong side of people and because of who you associate with, it can definitely harm you.
[00:22:37] So if you're friends with people that are quitting or have negative things to say about the firm, they may assume that you're on their side too. And when you're close to the Mark people, also, the other thing that they do is they constantly share their negative opinions about the firm and their jobs.
[00:22:51] And they'll complain to you about what an awful place your organization is. Even though the organization may have been around for a hundred, a hundred plus years and it's still going [00:23:00] to be functioning when you're gone and and those opinions will rub off on you.
[00:23:03]They'll start up sending you you'll be effected by them and and you may leave and maybe when you shouldn't just, look like the wrong kind of person. People are tribal and And you don't want to be associated with the wrong tribe inside your law firm and law firms, good organizations, expel those who are antagonistic to them and their interests.
[00:23:23] And and, and they keep around those that help them. That's just how good economic units and groups work. And you need to avoid associate with the wrong groups to survive in your current firm. And these are just not the same sorts of groups. You know that people may that you want to be part of your your job is to be smart and and and choose the right people to associate with.
[00:23:45] And then the other thing is not to avoid billing. Some people. Get a reputation for working hard and others get a reputation for not working hard or finding solutions a little bit too quickly. And and many firms and most firms actually, there's certain clients [00:24:00] that the partners want a lot of work done on and where associates can build a lot of hours and others, there's not.
[00:24:05] So if you don't build a lot of hours then the partner that's assigning you to the work is going to make a lot less money. And. We'll be in an unhappy. And when I was a young associate, I remember I would one of the clients that this partner that I worked for, he worked for a middle Eastern Monarch and also on the behalf of the the billionaire depose dictator of an Asian nation.
[00:24:29]And and I was the third associate to had worked for this powerful partner and in a relatively low Short period of time. And this particular guy had so much money that the Monarch that he really had no care in the world. And these were dumb disputes. One of the Mo Monarch disputes was he'd been paid eight.
[00:24:48] He paid someone $8 million to design a personal fragrance. I don't know, there were some issues with a fragrance and another dispute was over $500 million to Decatur had an, a Swiss bank. [00:25:00] And so these people spent made more money on interest each hour. And then in a possible, huge team of attorneys could bill each day.
[00:25:08] So when I started working with this partner, I quickly. Realize what the two associates who'd worked for me before had done work for him before that gotten them in trouble. And what they'd done and say just told the partner that a lot of the work they were being assigned was unnecessary. The solution was very simple to find.
[00:25:24] And so the partner stopped giving them work because he wanted to run up the bills, not and he wanted to really get the answers. I got, see key. If they had done extra work, it would have been okay. And it would have probably had some sort of might not have been economic sense, but it would have gotten, made sure that the answer was a hundred percent.
[00:25:42]One guy It was frozen out of work by this partner and spent six months with no work before he figured out that, they were pushing them out the door. So when I was assigned to the matter, I remember being tasked with just writing all these memos. And so I'd worked late on weekends writing these memos and it was just lots and [00:26:00] lots of busy work.
[00:26:00] I'd write memos on the federal rules of civil procedure. And spend 70 hours a week sometimes turn it. And I remember that there was one particular issue that I've been working on and yeah. And and then one night about 9:00 PM I was running one of these memos, a partner stopped by my office and I was way out and and in his own way, he said I was doing a good job.
[00:26:21] He said, you're a good soldier and I need a soldier and you're being a good soldier. And what he meant was that I was billing and doing what was, has to me, not fleshing it. So it didn't make any difference that I could pull out a treaties and answer these questions in minutes, instead of hours, he wanted these memos and he wanted billing.
[00:26:36]Maybe the billionaire dictators and so forth wanted A bunch of memos, I don't know. Or maybe he needed to cover himself because this is what the handlers and the billionaires are part. I don't know, I wasn't really into my business, but the point is that I ultimately saved my job and got in the good graces of the partner because I did what I was told and he respected me.
[00:26:56] And and then when he moved firms, years later, he actually hired me to [00:27:00] help him. So you need to do, what's expected of you. And if you're under the impression that lots of billing is expected to require, that's really what you need to do. You need to follow orders and you need to do the best job to help people bring in money.
[00:27:15] And I've seeing associates lose their jobs very early in their career. For actually telling their superiors that they were asking them to do too much work that wasn't necessary. So you need to realize that law's a business you get political points and stay in the good graces of the right people when you bill as many hours as we expected.
[00:27:34]And then the last one here is to pick an in tribe and. If you do choose to align yourself with a given group you need to make sure you pick the right group. And sometimes the group we choose maybe one of the partners that do work for a certain type of client or one client, or need to be careful because that may just be one client.
[00:27:53]And I've seen people do that. I've seen them choose someone to work for that had one big client. Then they lost that client and you [00:28:00] might've spent years working for that partner. So sometimes you need to actually be part of more than one tribe or part of a tribe that has access to more than one line of business, meaning several clients and.
[00:28:12]There's often lots of different tribes inside of law firms and some are more powerful than others. One tribe with the most business may want for whatever reason to push another tribe out of the firm, you just don't know you don't never know what's going on.
[00:28:26]But being part of the wrong tribe can have a very poor consequences for a career and then you just need to get involved, also avoid another thing is getting involved in the practice here that doesn't generate as much money for the firm or it's on its way out. And when I joined the first firm I joined out of law school, it had actually started primarily as an employment law firm Quinn Emanuel but.
[00:28:49]By the time I joined, it was becoming more of a commercial litigation firm. And the reason it was getting rid of employment litigation was because the billing rates were lower and the cases aren't as important. So [00:29:00] as the firm started doing more commercial litigation, they suddenly told all the employment attorneys that they couldn't do this work unless they build more money to their clients.
[00:29:08] And and so the only option that those. Partners had was to stopped doing employment litigation, to find other worker to leave. And most of them ended up leaving because the employment clients wouldn't pay the higher billing rates. So law firms are always continuously discarding attorneys in different practice areas.
[00:29:27]If they consider those practices beneath them, Or even if they use that practice here to build the firm initially and there's always practice areas that her risks could be eliminated. That are risky, that don't generate a lot of money inside a firm. Some of them are w one is like trust in the States where it's hard to get a high hourly rates or high fixed rates.
[00:29:46]Patent prosecution is increasingly becoming flat fee work. So that can be dangerous. A lot of that work is now also done in a third world countries and then comes back here and not fair world, other countries and then a [00:30:00] us attorney's kind of sign off on the work and so that, that sounds popular as it once was.
[00:30:05]Trademark law. A lot of that work is routine can be done by staff attorneys and even paralegals. That makes the billing rates, lower immigration work, which is a very after practice area as I'm talking, but right now, but a lot of it's flat fee and. A lot of the clients won't have the money to pay for much.
[00:30:23] So times law firms will try to eliminate that. Same thing, as I mentioned earlier, with employment litigation and counseling family law, also very popular practice area and vibrant practice here right now. But that can be a difficult time paying bills and that can have a hard time paying bills.
[00:30:39] So that's another issue. And then bankruptcy can fluctuate in terms of the amount of work very widely. It can be very complex, but especially with large bankruptcies, but billing rates can always be being pushed down. Just keep in mind that your practice area is also a sign of Can you could be on the wrong side of the political equation side of a law firm. [00:31:00]
[00:31:00]If you're in the wrong practice area the most serious matters the law firms will hire the best litigators or corporate attorneys, but for routine work, that's not that complex state typically won't. And so you always need to understand where your practice area is in terms of the economic hierarchy of the law firm.
[00:31:18] Now you could be at a firm that does not mean bud trademark. And be the best trademark from their attorney there. And that could be helpful, but it just depends. And so the reason these kinds of mistakes are fatal is because you don't have political capital and in all those mistakes are typically can be recovered by doing the things that firms value the most, which is working a lot of hours or bringing in business or doing great work, but it's not easy.
[00:31:42] Do you know you, you need to be careful and and that's the crux of it and and just, making sure you're in the right group and and so forth. Those are all the conclusions, I would say and as a general rule if you're not part of the right group then you, you're going to be in [00:32:00] many cases in trouble and and that's just something to think about.
[00:32:04] And and if you're in the right political thing or not, but if you're not in the right group inside of the firm, the best choice is often to leave. If you don't feel I can get in the right group. And if you feel like you're making a. You're part of the wrong group, then you may be better off waiting.
[00:32:19] And many times when you see partners inside of a law firm that are in trouble, that don't have any business they're often in a situation where they may be isolated and not getting work. And so a lot of what's going on inside of all law firms, this is very political and you need to look at those worlds and being politically astute is very important.
[00:32:38] And and if the political tides against you then, you may want to leave look for a new job and but you can't really succeed in a law firm. If you're in the wrong part of the political equation. So you need to be a very political aware where you should probably be a student of politics and learn a little bit about what's going on.
[00:32:59]But you [00:33:00] need to be in a position where you want to be able to contribute and where you're a part of the right people that can always help you in this. These sorts of rules are just as important as being good at your job. Okay. So the second reason I usually, and this is actually, is there a common reason that people leave if you don't have access to work.
[00:33:18] And this is really the most important thing in any law firm. There's really nothing more important than having access to work, because if we don't have access to work you're not gonna be able to bill enough hours. And if you can't build enough hours you're just not going to be able to keep your job.
[00:33:32] And I've seen it's scary. I've seen lots of large law firms work their associates to death and have them bill, 3000 hours a year doing deals or working at large cases. And then suddenly the work may slow down and Turning on the bills, 1500 hours the next year.
[00:33:48] And then the firm fires them for not having enough to do so many times. There's no appreciation for years of the super billing superhuman billing. And if the work slows down, you can lose your job very quickly. [00:34:00] And just keep in mind if you don't have enough work to do in most firms.
[00:34:04]We're almost always going to lose your job. There's just no question about it. Whether you're a partner and associate even as partners, within a couple of years or use you lose your job. If it's a well-run firm they're happy to make money off you when you're working hard and and take these extraordinary contributions.
[00:34:21] But once the second it looks like they're not making money. They will throw you on the street. The political side tinier office may be against you. This might be reason you don't have any work. So I gave you some examples of political mistakes that people made and those political mistakes could be making mistakes.
[00:34:37] That could be, saying the wrong things. They could be being in the wrong group, they could be all sorts of issues, but if political sides against you and you're not getting work right. Then you should probably leave. Sometimes there's just structural problems with the law firm and the law firm may be doing a variety of things that are preventing it from getting work.
[00:34:56] It may be overpricing it services. Some law firms are [00:35:00] just too expensive for the. The type of work that they're doing, they overpriced them. And that's common and many firms that affects the partners and associates because they just don't have enough to do many times satellite offices of large national firms can be very dangerous places to go because they don't have the work and pay the may open in smaller cities, but still want to charge the rates.
[00:35:23] They were in larger markets. And that won't work. Yeah. And then there just that it doesn't work for associates and partners. Some, sometimes law firms have partner compensation structure that are just driving away. Those with business. So partners with business typically want to work with they're going to make the most money.
[00:35:40]While there are a lot of factors that go into how what a partner, where a partner wants to work such as other practice areas to send work to quality of associates, support staff, number of offices in the firm's reputation. Most partners are ultimately going to be motivated by money and unfortunately, and and so they will.
[00:35:56] Go someplace where they believe they can generate the most business and may take [00:36:00] less money because of that, or they'll go to a place. Patient pays in the most and firms have formed those for compensating partners. And and so a lot of times firms will play with those formulas and then people will leave because of those formulas.
[00:36:13] Other times law firms may be overemphasizing the wrong practice area or they may have emphasized the wrong practice or in the past. So they may, for example, hire too many litigators. I've seen a Heller Erhman for example, is a big firm that we're not a business because it took on it, had all these litigators and then these giant.
[00:36:31] Litigation cases all settled very quickly, and it helped push the firm over the edge or firms like Dewey Ballantine that we're not a business when they hired too many corporate attorneys high rates. And then the 2008 financial crisis came and they had guarantees. It's law firms can go out of business because they take they just have the wrong balance of practice areas and.
[00:36:51] Other times law firms may merge and these mergers may create all sorts of problems and they may have created infighting or they may all [00:37:00] sorts of issues can happen with a merger and that can create problems. It can have different two firms forced together fighting with each other and it's just, it's just an partner.
[00:37:10] It's just can create all sorts of issues. Sometimes law firms will over hire many law firms as they age or otherwise can become top heavy or bottom heavy, meaning they have too many partners with business without business or too many associates or, who knows. And sometimes law firms will lose a lot of important clients or, the economy just may be in recession recessions can really hurt different types of firms.
[00:37:33]And, our firm typically does well recessions because people go from large firms to small firms, other firms do other types of, it just depends. Companies, a lot of times will. Save money that way too and move work to us, smaller firms.
[00:37:47] So those could be some issues other problems reasons you should move. If they're not structural, can just be your seniority level. As attorneys could senior their billing rates increase and they get closer to their billing [00:38:00] rates get close to a partner charge.
[00:38:01] So if you were client and most clients are, the way they think is that they typically prefer to have partners to work and not necessarily associates or others at the same billing rate. And partners also make more money when they work on the ramp matters as opposed to when they give them to other people.
[00:38:16] So most law firms will Would prefer to have partners work on things then senior associates or counsel. So it changes as you get more senior and and so you may have a difficult time getting work as you get more senior. And but regardless you got to think about all this and if you don't have a lot of work you need to be very careful and you need to remember that.
[00:38:37] You do need to have access to work, and if you don't have access to work and need to figure out how to make work. And that's one of the biggest skills that that attorneys have is they can sell the best ones will figure out things to do. For clients they'll have files that are sitting on the side and then they'll pick them up and call the clients and get them to do extra work.
[00:38:57] And that's a smart thing to do. And [00:39:00] and every business needs to do that. Every company needs to create. Work. Computer companies do it, web services, kitchen clients, companies everybody is always creating work. Television shows are always changing and creating work.
[00:39:12] And you need to be able to create work and that's very important. And there's just always work to be done. One reason many law firms look so poorly attorneys who've lost their jobs and don't have enough work is because those attorneys not have enough work are seen as not being proactive and able to sell additional services.
[00:39:29] And the best attorneys really understand how to get work. And I remember. I've told this story before, but I was at a graduation party with one of my friends in high school. And his father was an attorney gone to a local law school in Detroit. And he ran his own solo practice doing kind of small things.
[00:39:48] And he just built this huge modern house on a Lake. And and his business typically was representing petty criminals, divorcing couple of people, traffic tickets, and he made a lot of money. [00:40:00] And and so I'd gotten some sort of a traffic ticket and decided to speak with them about this. And when I told them about the ticket, he went into this long monologue and told me I needed an attorney that I was very serious.
[00:40:12] He needed to do some research and I shouldn't pay the ticket, my insurance rates to go up and and then he asked for my parents' phone number and told me he would call them and take care of it. And honestly the ticket wasn't that serious. And when I went to court for the ticket, it was for something really stupid.
[00:40:27] I think what it was is I'd want to like a television and a like a little portable television than a contest. And and so I put it on the dashboard of my van and I was driving down the street with a television on my friend watching TV. And that was what the ticket was for. Or maybe it was speeding.
[00:40:43] I don't remember it was one of those, but Anyway, I went to court and the officers, so I'm just speeding with this television on my dashboard or whatever it was. Didn't show up the ticket was dismissed. But one of the reasons that this attorney was so successful even when these little cases was, he just would create work every chance he got.
[00:40:58] And he scared me. [00:41:00] He scared me that that I needed the best attorney possible representing me. And after our conversation, I was ready. Really to sit my parents down and tell them I need to retainer for a few thousand dollars because. I felt like this was a very serious and so law firms want attorneys that know how to create work and how to get work from clients.
[00:41:18] And and that's what the partner was doing. That was getting me to write all these memos about various things. It didn't really seem that important. He was just creating work and creating work, gives other people access to work and it creates money and wealth and so you need to create work, man.
[00:41:35] It's very important. And yeah. And if you don't do well finding projects or additional work then you know, you need to find new angles for the work. And so the more you look at an issue the more likely you are to win a negotiation or case or a deal. And in the largest law firms, The best attorneys will look at all matters are working on a more closely than their competitors.
[00:41:58] That's what the best law firms do. They [00:42:00] will look at something and they'll really understand it. And and the best law firms and attorneys are more expensive, but ultimately they're giving better service because they're doing all these memos and so forth. And the attorney who had me write all these memos by the way was very Interesting.
[00:42:13] He never actually had lost a case in his career. I'm an eight subtle, a ton of them. And won some trials, but he'd never actually lost a case. Which is interesting because he, and I think a lot of it had to do with his ability to do research. Okay. So the final one a reason to move firms is because you can get into a more prestigious law firm.
[00:42:34] And this is really the nuts and bolts of what I like doing for a career. Is getting people into more procedures, law firms, and this is a good reason to move. And and I like this reason and for most people and and I'll tell you why, but for most cases, in most cases, when you're in law school or when you're just out of law school the only method that law firms have to evaluate you.
[00:42:55]From anybody else supplying to them is your law school. In the name of [00:43:00] your law school and the grade you got there, that's pretty much it. And there's nothing else. You know that they have and they certainly, your personal background. Thanks, but that pretty much decides where you end up, but after you've been out a few years your practice here, the skills you get doing a certain type of work and then your experience become more important.
[00:43:20] And, suddenly lots of attorneys are marketable at a large law firm when they weren't for make people can move from small to midsize firms or from a midsize firm to major firms. Once they've gotten certain experience because there's just not people do that with that experience.
[00:43:35] And so you'll get experience and access to more work. You'll get to work for larger clients large law firms get work on behalf of the largest clients. You will the most important work, typically it goes to the largest law firms and the most prestigious law firms.
[00:43:49] You can work on things that are in the headlines. And often you need to be with a large law firm in a large city to work on the most important matters and to do if a corporate attorney want to do things like [00:44:00] IPOs and things capital markets work, you often do need to be. With a large law firm.
[00:44:05] And so also the larger the law firm you're with and the more prestigious the better skills you'll develop, you'll be able to larger clients can write large checks. And so they can look at matters in a lot of depth and they require a lot of attention to detail. So you can learn to go deep with matters.
[00:44:20] They they they often have lots and lots of layers of people approving the word, reviewing work, and you'll become sharper, more detailed or harder working and all these things and for law firms and that could be very important skills to learn.
[00:44:36] You'll become actually a much better attorney, many times when you're able to understand things and work with better attorneys and the bigger firms. I hate to say it, but that's the truth many times. And if you're practicing around more motivated and competitive people, you're just going to learn to play a more advanced political game.
[00:44:52]You can't become an Olympic athlete, many times practicing with a bunch of high schoolers at a high school running. Team. [00:45:00] You go and practice with other Olympic athletes in the junior Olympics and so large law firms typically do attract in the most prestigious law firms that don't have to be large ones, but with the best people, they attract the best people.
[00:45:10] And they also attract the highest performing attorneys. They know how to bring in the best biggest clients. Typically they have the best educational pedigrees, which are fairly meaningless, but at the same time, a good educational pedigree does show. Historical motivation and which I think is important.
[00:45:25] And those types of attorneys proportionally end up at the largest law firms. You're also going to be surrounded by those types of attorneys that know how to think about issues in a different way. And you'll also learn to unders understand the political environment ways that they approach things.
[00:45:41] And you'll get a pedigree. That'll make it easier for you to move to a larger law firm or working more attraction to smaller law firms in the future. And for most law firms that are hiring laterally, by the way the most important thing for them is the quality of the law firm are coming from, and not necessarily where you went to law school.
[00:45:57]There's plenty of people that went to fourth year law schools [00:46:00] or did you know, not so well at. In law school that wind up at the best law firms and at the top roles in those firms. And and if you've, if a law firms trained you politically and you've learned that you're going to learn a lot more than you ever would in law school and working in a good law firm is going to teach you a lot more about.
[00:46:18] Practicing law than you ever would. In in in most law firms you should work especially when you're young with the best attorneys you possibly can get a job with and to learn their skills. And unfortunately large law firms prefer to hire attorneys from other large law firms. So the more the larger the firm, you are the better working in a large law firm and, or a good law firm.
[00:46:38] And again, when I say good law firm, a law firm, there are plenty of great law firms. I was talking to someone. From a big from a small, very well known entertainment law firm in Los Angeles yesterday, a partner there of maybe 10 attorneys. And that firm is in the national news weekly. It's a great firm, so you can work in very small firms that are very.
[00:47:00] [00:46:59] Good, but you want to work around the best attorneys that do what you want to do. And as a general rule attorneys from the best law firms went to major schools and have a pattern of achievement and you want to be around those people, especially if you don't have those types of backup background.
[00:47:15] And those types of attorneys tend to go to the best positions in the best firms and the corporations and the government. You have, you can earn into a learning network that can advance your career. And you're likely to meet more of these people than you would in smaller firms. And and the other thing is you can just move back to a smaller firm if you want later.
[00:47:31]It doesn't matter. Small law firms value people with large law firm training. And if you moved to a large law firm and get exposure to their training and deals, then you're going to be very attractive to smaller law firms. If you ever want to go back and there's nothing wrong with exposing yourself to the highest level of training, practicing as you can't and on then taking it back to a small law firm later you'll also become more in politically detailed oriented and so forth.
[00:47:57] If you practice at a large law firm before [00:48:00] moving to a small one and. If you were able to move up to a better firm? I it's routine. When I say routine, that happens monthly, that we move people at our company. BCG to firms to pay three times what they were making. So you can move from one firm.
[00:48:17] That's a small regional firm to a large regional firm or a large national firm and triple your salary. And that's pretty awesome. You can pay off student loans quickly or qualify for a bigger mortgage or, you can also go in house with bigger companies if you work from our procedures employers.
[00:48:35] So a large law firms often place people in their own attorneys in house. So they have allies there. Corporations many times want to hire attorneys from the most prestigious law firms to work in house because they believe this attorneys had better training and represent a better economic deal.
[00:48:52]Many law firms, large companies typically. Prefer now it doesn't mean they always do, but they prefer to hire people from brand name [00:49:00] major law firms because they figure they're going to get a good deal compared to what they would have to pay. And that, that those people will look at their legal problems at the same way that they would look at if they were hiring that firm.
[00:49:12] And so most in-house companies do prefer to hire people from the best law firms. And it's just how it is. And a pedigree from affirm is something that's going to enable you to work internationally, or have a credential that's going to open up other career possibilities for you. So if you want to work internationally it's generally good to have a major branding firm.
[00:49:31] I have people that are placed all the time, meaning, at least a couple of times a year internationally by just. Because they were worked at a big law firm and they just do a zoom conference or whatever, with a couple of people in the international firm. And then they're hired it's not for all practice areas.
[00:49:46]There's only certain practices. You can do that, whether they're in capital markets. International arbitration a few others, but you can get jobs. The product of a major national law firm is trusted, especially if you've worked there and law firms and other countries recognize the [00:50:00] big names and the big names gives you access to all sorts of opportunities in government non-profit and all that sort of thing.
[00:50:07] That's going to be available to you. So if you move up. That can help you, or you can move up to move up. So some people start out a very small firm, then move to a bigger firm. It's a little bit better. And then from there another firm and so forth and working for a major firms going to enable you to bring a bigger brand name clients also.
[00:50:24] So the biggest clients want to work. We want the best Nah, brand named firms representing them. They take a lot of pride in it and they think they're cool because they have a liars that are from a certain firm. So large procedures companies No often, want to hire the best known firms.
[00:50:40]They just that's important to them. It connotes power and quality and reflects how seriously the company takes itself is likely to, hopefully from their point of view, result in fewer errors so they pay a lot of extra money for the security of that name behind them.
[00:50:56] And when you're with a large procedures law firm you have [00:51:00] the ability to bring in a major brand new clients. You wouldn't necessarily get at a smaller firm because a smaller firm, a big brand name clients, oftentimes don't have any reason to take that risk. It's when I talk with attorneys that have moved from, good firms to excellent firms or excellent firms, stellar firms, they always say it's easier to bring in business and get clients so that bigger at the better firm than it was at the previous firm, because name.
[00:51:24] The name has a reputation. It's just like the school you go to. It has a reputation stands for something