OtherGround Forums Your experience with Big Law?

2/8/12 2:39 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 65831
A very large full service firm that is also ranked as one of the top patent law firms is looking for an attorney.  The partner who is looking for help made inquiries about me to a friend of mine who used to work for him at 2 other firms. 

I have heard horror stories about Big Law, and at 47 yrs old I am not really interested in becoming a senior associate/slave doing what I am doing in my present firm, but this Big Law firm does a lot broader range of work, including litigation.  I'm not going to take any work with me, so I wouldn't be a partner. 

My long term goal is to go back in-house, but it might be beneficial to put in a few years in a top ranked firm, first.  My present firm is quite small, very focused on one aspect of patent law, and quite honestly has sort of a cheesy name (the owner did not use his own name - FL allows firms to use names like "The Ticket Clinic, PA" which is not our name, but is almost as bad imo).  

I've never worked at Big Law, I grew up in-house (18 yrs) and have worked the last 4 in this small firm.  But   I am ready to do something else/more. 
2/8/12 4:48 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 65836
 Meh, nevermind.  I just looked up their billable hours requirement.   No thanks, I have a life. 

I like the flexibility to earnings ratio I have now. 
2/8/12 11:13 PM
4/11/04
Posts: 32062
Glad you came to your senses.
2/9/12 6:16 PM
3/3/03
Posts: 17985
smart move IMHO
2/9/12 8:56 PM
11/12/00
Posts: 20319
I dropped out of the rat race before it even started.
7/12/12 2:13 AM
1/1/01
Posts: 784
The Ticket Clinic FTW!
7/29/12 11:26 PM
6/22/03
Posts: 2966
Hey Trust, this is probably way too late, but for what it's worth...

I worked at a big top-ranked patent firm for a while. The billable requirement in litigation is MUCH easier to make than doing prosecution. 2200 hours in litigation is easier than 1800 prosecution. And the hours requirements aren't as rigid as it seems. If you're aiming for partner, then yes, you need to hit those hours. If you're looking to float for a few years before heading in-house, then you can get away with working less and not making your target.
7/31/12 12:42 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 68384
Thanks, alley.  

Is the problem with prosecution the fact that partners write into your time, flat fees, something else, or a combination of things?

I have a friend that was at Novak Druce and they were billing him at $500/hr.  For flat fee typical amendment response to an office action that gave him basically 4-5 hours to get the amendment done.  If it's a case you've never seen before, that is pretty damn hard to do.  I spend a good 8-12 hours per response.  SOmetimes more.  We make it up, usually, by virtue of the flat fee and volume. Some cases take much less time, but we get to bill the full amount for them anyway.  
8/2/12 8:25 PM
6/22/03
Posts: 2970
No, the partners don't steal your hours. It's just the different nature of the work.

In prosecution, you're doing a file for something like $10-15K a pop. Plus, you can't bill a zillion hours for an office action, etc. There are standard times in which things get done (even if those times are unreasonable, like you mention).

But in a big litigation, the client is signed up for a $3 million bill (or more), so they aren't watching the hours as much. And you can rack up tons of hours doing document review (easy to do an 11 hour day, if you should choose to do so), legal memos, writing motions, etc. Every second worked gets billed, and you don't need to write off any time.
11/1/12 3:56 PM
3/28/05
Posts: 19705

I used to work at a firm whose name rhymes with Pear Clown

Was told that to make a serious push for partner I needed to be billing roughly 2,400 - 2,500 a year for the 2 or 3 years before partnership.

No thanks.

11/6/12 8:58 PM
1/1/01
Posts: 69929

Well, got a phone interview on Friday.  Very interested in this employer, but it would be a pain in the short term because it's out of state, and my son is in his last year of high school, so I would have to live away from home.  I think that might be hard on him.

11/7/12 5:43 PM
3/3/03
Posts: 19947
Trust -

Well, got a phone interview on Friday.  Very interested in this employer, but it would be a pain in the short term because it's out of state, and my son is in his last year of high school, so I would have to live away from home.  I think that might be hard on him.

What are your thoughts on this? Phone Post
11/7/12 10:22 PM
6/22/03
Posts: 3139
Meh, the economy should pick up for real in a couple of years. Those sorts of opportunities will be more plentiful then. Might as well wait till the timing is better for your family.