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    Everyone knows the arguments for US firms over MC (smaller offices, more responsibility, higher pay) but there are surely some US firms that are more popular than others?
    Which US firms would people consider taking over a MC offer, and which ones would you not take over an MC offer?
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    I would not take one single us firm over the magic circle (supposing I even had this option!). It is well known that the training provided by magic circle firms is the envy of us firms and whilst the training will no doubt be superb at the us firms, these firms are always on the lookout to recruit magic circle NQ's at the associate level should you want this.
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    (Original post by neal95)
    It is well known that the training provided by magic circle firms is the envy of us firms
    Is it? What makes you say that?
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    (Original post by neal95)
    I would not take one single us firm over the magic circle (supposing I even had this option!). It is well known that the training provided by magic circle firms is the envy of us firms and whilst the training will no doubt be superb at the us firms, these firms are always on the lookout to recruit magic circle NQ's at the associate level should you want this.
    If this was true surely business sense would dictate that US firms just aggressively poach MC NQs for all their lawyers?

    all firms need to top up intakes (or indeed let trainees go) when needs change, so I don't think that should be confused for quality of training. I'm sure there's an argument to say US firms provide better training. But this question wasnt really about that anyway!
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    (Original post by neal95)
    I would not take one single us firm over the magic circle (supposing I even had this option!). It is well known that the training provided by magic circle firms is the envy of us firms and whilst the training will no doubt be superb at the us firms, these firms are always on the lookout to recruit magic circle NQ's at the associate level should you want this.
    Totally agree with the above . I come at this from having a close relative who had to make a choice between MC /US TC . Although the salary was considerably higher at the US firm the obvious concern were the hours . quality of work and environment . They also knew a few people at both MC and US firms so were able to canvass opinion . US firms are known to be quite ruthless and with that you lose the attention paid to you as a trainee . Another thing worth doing is Googling 'Lathamed'.
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    (Original post by Albcat28)
    Totally agree with the above . I come at this from having a close relative who had to make a choice between MC /US TC . Although the salary was considerably higher at the US firm the obvious concern were the hours . quality of work and environment . They also knew a few people at both MC and US firms so were able to canvass opinion . US firms are known to be quite ruthless and with that you lose the attention paid to you as a trainee . Another thing worth doing is Googling 'Lathamed'.
    What's your take on the hours and quality of work?

    My friends at US/MC all seem to work equally long hours, and quality of work wise, US firms seem to be in the top tier in their respective specialisms. Weil for private equity, Skadden for M&A, WilmerHale for arbitration, Arnold & Porter for Pharma/Tech et cetera and trainees I would think would only go there if they were interested in those specialisms. Obviously you'll have access to a broader range of work at an MC firm, but that's because they're bigger offices (which offsets the higher responsibility, smaller environment point).

    sincerely, devil's advocate
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    (Original post by MrLintonJones)
    What's your take on the hours and quality of work?

    My friends at US/MC all seem to work equally long hours, and quality of work wise, US firms seem to be in the top tier in their respective specialisms. Weil for private equity, Skadden for M&A, WilmerHale for arbitration, Arnold & Porter for Pharma/Tech et cetera and trainees I would think would only go there if they were interested in those specialisms. Obviously you'll have access to a broader range of work at an MC firm, but that's because they're bigger offices (which offsets the higher responsibility, smaller environment point).

    sincerely, devil's advocate
    Wish they could answer themselves ! They are really enjoying it and into their third seat of Litigation having done banking /M&A and are now looking at the possibility of an international secondment . The hours obv depend on which department you are in but if you are in the MC you expect them . Some nights they have finished at 11pm and others 6/7/8 which seems to be the norm . They've never had to work a weekend but some colleagues have worked a few . As posters have said the training and support are outstanding . They have also been given a huge amount of responsibility . Its the small things that also make it a great place to work , such as none of their requests for leave have been refused , even at the last minute .
    Think that's my advert for the MC over !
    I'm sure people will also have generous thing to say about US firms .
    Sorry I haven't been much help on the business side of things
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    (Original post by MrLintonJones)
    If this was true surely business sense would dictate that US firms just aggressively poach MC NQs for all their lawyers?

    all firms need to top up intakes (or indeed let trainees go) when needs change, so I don't think that should be confused for quality of training. I'm sure there's an argument to say US firms provide better training. But this question wasnt really about that anyway!
    1) They do aggressively poach NQ talent. Not just MC firms but also SC firms too. A lot of SC NQs jump ship to US firms.

    2) It is much rarer for MC/SC firms to top up their recruitment at NQ level. It does happen, but given their intake numbers, tends to be much lower/less frequent.


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    (Original post by J-SP)
    1) They do aggressively poach NQ talent. Not just MC firms but also SC firms too. A lot of SC NQs jump ship to US firms.

    2) It is much rarer for MC/SC firms to top up their recruitment at NQ level. It does happen, but given their intake numbers, tends to be much lower/less frequent.


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    I know they poach NQ talent, I was just making the point that they would possibly do that for all their NQ positions if they believed MC trained lawyers would be more beneficial for them. Then I suppose employ cheaper paralegals for trainee tasks?
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    (Original post by MrLintonJones)
    I know they poach NQ talent, I was just making the point that they would possibly do that for all their NQ positions if they believed MC trained lawyers would be more beneficial for them. Then I suppose employ cheaper paralegals for trainee tasks?
    You need trainees to do trainee tasks. It isn't as easy as just fobbing off trainee work to paralegals all the time, especially when it comes to billing hours.


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    I chose a US firm over an MC firm. I wouldn't have taken the MC firm even if the US firm hadn't been on the table as I had other opportunities and had graduated a few years previous.

    The training salary is c.50k, NQ salary is 120k+ and a bonus - which is about what 3-5 PQErs make in the MC. It's just wrong to say the hours are any worse - you'll get beasted wherever you go. You get paid more to do the same work, it's just a leaner business model.

    Training is a misnomer. Formal training (e.g. seminars) will be more established in MC firms, but real training is done on the job. I understand how an MC firm can appear more attractive if you've left uni and can't tie your shoelaces together yet, but at the end of the day, there won't be much of a difference.

    You can't easily jump ship after qualfiication from MC to US. 10 years ago US firms had small to non existent trainee intakes. Now the intake expands year on year and they seek juniors from within. Some firms do recruit relatively aggressively, e.g. Kirkland...but will they be doing so in 5 years? Every year their trainee intake increases. The other thing is that actually US firms are far more inclined to hire from other US firms perhaps for cultural fit. There aren't that many US firms in London, they all have websites. You'll be hard pressed at any firm to find more than one or two juniors from any one MC shop, if that. The vast, vast majority have trained in the US. And having friends who have made the jump from MC/SC to US, it's not a walk in the park; it's highly competitive indeed.

    If you're fresh out of university, you'll have a larger, more social trainee cohort at the MC, and I can imagine it would be more supportive. But at the end of the day, there aren't many US firms and they don't give many training contracts. Most people who get offers pick them over the MC for the dollar alone.
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    (Original post by flatlined)
    I chose a US firm over an MC firm. I wouldn't have taken the MC firm even if the US firm hadn't been on the table as I had other opportunities and had graduated a few years previous.

    The training salary is c.50k, NQ salary is 120k+ and a bonus - which is about what 3-5 PQErs make in the MC. It's just wrong to say the hours are any worse - you'll get beasted wherever you go. You get paid more to do the same work, it's just a leaner business model.

    Training is a misnomer. Formal training (e.g. seminars) will be more established in MC firms, but real training is done on the job. I understand how an MC firm can appear more attractive if you've left uni and can't tie your shoelaces together yet, but at the end of the day, there won't be much of a difference.

    You can't easily jump ship after qualfiication from MC to US. 10 years ago US firms had small to non existent trainee intakes. Now the intake expands year on year and they seek juniors from within. Some firms do recruit relatively aggressively, e.g. Kirkland...but will they be doing so in 5 years? Every year their trainee intake increases. The other thing is that actually US firms are far more inclined to hire from other US firms perhaps for cultural fit. There aren't that many US firms in London, they all have websites. You'll be hard pressed at any firm to find more than one or two juniors from any one MC shop, if that. The vast, vast majority have trained in the US. And having friends who have made the jump from MC/SC to US, it's not a walk in the park; it's highly competitive indeed.

    If you're fresh out of university, you'll have a larger, more social trainee cohort at the MC, and I can imagine it would be more supportive. But at the end of the day, there aren't many US firms and they don't give many training contracts. Most people who get offers pick them over the MC for the dollar alone.
    What about a US firm that pays circa 85-90k, rather than the recent 120k+, would you still be inclined to go there?
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    (Original post by MrLintonJones)
    What about a US firm that pays circa 85-90k, rather than the recent 120k+, would you still be inclined to go there?
    How long is a piece of string? Obviously there's more to it than money alone, and it depends on what the firm was, what other options I had on the table.
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    (Original post by flatlined)
    I chose a US firm over an MC firm. I wouldn't have taken the MC firm even if the US firm hadn't been on the table as I had other opportunities and had graduated a few years previous.

    The training salary is c.50k, NQ salary is 120k+ and a bonus - which is about what 3-5 PQErs make in the MC. It's just wrong to say the hours are any worse - you'll get beasted wherever you go. You get paid more to do the same work, it's just a leaner business model.

    Training is a misnomer. Formal training (e.g. seminars) will be more established in MC firms, but real training is done on the job. I understand how an MC firm can appear more attractive if you've left uni and can't tie your shoelaces together yet, but at the end of the day, there won't be much of a difference.

    You can't easily jump ship after qualfiication from MC to US. 10 years ago US firms had small to non existent trainee intakes. Now the intake expands year on year and they seek juniors from within. Some firms do recruit relatively aggressively, e.g. Kirkland...but will they be doing so in 5 years? Every year their trainee intake increases. The other thing is that actually US firms are far more inclined to hire from other US firms perhaps for cultural fit. There aren't that many US firms in London, they all have websites. You'll be hard pressed at any firm to find more than one or two juniors from any one MC shop, if that. The vast, vast majority have trained in the US. And having friends who have made the jump from MC/SC to US, it's not a walk in the park; it's highly competitive indeed.

    If you're fresh out of university, you'll have a larger, more social trainee cohort at the MC, and I can imagine it would be more supportive. But at the end of the day, there aren't many US firms and they don't give many training contracts. Most people who get offers pick them over the MC for the dollar alone.
    Picking up on your point about MC firms seeming more attractive if you are just out of university and can't tie your shoelaces , inferring that anyone who can't take the pressure / competitiveness would not choose the US firm . As I said , my relative had a choice of both and was a career changer having spent a good few years in another very competitive industry . Quite a few of their cohort were career changers , luckily they were able to choose what appears to be for them the correct firm .
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    (Original post by Albcat28)
    Picking up on your point about MC firms seeming more attractive if you are just out of university and can't tie your shoelaces , inferring that anyone who can't take the pressure / competitiveness would not choose the US firm . As I said , my relative had a choice of both and was a career changer having spent a good few years in another very competitive industry . Quite a few of their cohort were career changers , luckily they were able to choose what appears to be for them the correct firm .
    The stress/pressure/hours will be about the same. I just meant that graduates tend to like to work for bigger companies, there's more resource to hold your hand if necessary.

    It's rare for high calibre people to go back and start again in law firms (not at the bar). I'm only on 80k at the moment. The prospect of doing an LPC and being on 40k for 2 years...only to be back where I started in 3/4 years at a MC firm is hardly appetising and is pretty financially stupid. There are a fair few career changes but the (vast) majority tend to be recent graduates, either completely fresh or who have had under 3 years.
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    (Original post by flatlined)
    The stress/pressure/hours will be about the same. I just meant that graduates tend to like to work for bigger companies, there's more resource to hold your hand if necessary.

    It's rare for high calibre people to go back and start again in law firms (not at the bar). I'm only on 80k at the moment. The prospect of doing an LPC and being on 40k for 2 years...only to be back where I started in 3/4 years at a MC firm is hardly appetising and is pretty financially stupid. There are a fair few career changes but the (vast) majority tend to be recent graduates, either completely fresh or who have had under 3 years.
    There is a difference between high calibre candidates and highly paid individuals. Not all high calibre people decide to pursue highly paid careers, and then choose to transfer to law. Many pursue their first career in fields that pay a lot less (public sector/military/NGOs/ charities/self-employed etc). Therefore the issue of a pay cut is a minority point in my opinion and probably limited to a very small number of industries.

    Most career changers I recruited for MC firms were earning about the same if not less than they did in their first career compared to what they earned as a trainee, and definitely not as much by the time they were an NQ.

    But if someone has a priority of pay, that's bound to be evidenced both in terms of their first career and the type of firm they then choose.




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    (Original post by J-SP)
    There is a difference between high calibre candidates and highly paid individuals. Not all high calibre people decide to pursue highly paid careers, and then choose to transfer to law. Many pursue their first career in fields that pay a lot less (public sector/military/NGOs/ charities/self-employed etc). Therefore the issue of a pay cut is a minority point in my opinion and probably limited to a very small number of industries.

    Most career changers I recruited for MC firms were earning about the same if not less than they did in their first career compared to what they earned as a trainee, and definitely not as much by the time they were an NQ.

    But if someone has a priority of pay, that's bound to be evidenced both in terms of their first career and the type of firm they then choose.




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    If you're fresh out of university or have only 2-3 years work experience, then you're not a career changer.

    My girlfriend works in the public sector and 4 years out of uni earns about 55k, the going rate for a G7. She would classify as a career changer.

    Almost all of my friends earn between 50-100k+ and have all sorts of different careers. PR, marketing, banking, accounting, public sector, consulting, FTSE graduate schemes, recruitment etc.

    If you're earning less than c.40k 4+ years out of university, it's not a reflection of not being money motivated most of the time, it's a reflection of a lack of success.
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    (Original post by flatlined)
    If you're fresh out of university or have only 2-3 years work experience, then you're not a career changer.

    My girlfriend works in the public sector and 4 years out of uni earns about 55k, the going rate for a G7. She would classify as a career changer.

    Almost all of my friends earn between 50-100k+ and have all sorts of different careers. PR, marketing, banking, accounting, public sector, consulting, FTSE graduate schemes, recruitment etc.

    If you're earning less than c.40k 4+ years out of university, it's not a reflection of not being money motivated most of the time, it's a reflection of a lack of success.
    I agree with your definition of a career changer. I still stick with what I said though.

    Your friends are a narrow group of people, and I'm guessing most of them are not pursuing a second career in law. Don't let your own experiences make generalisation of a much wider and diverse group of people.

    Pretty much everything you said is a stark contrast to my own experiences anyway.

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    I've always wondered at the statement "once qualified at a MC shop, you can just jump ship to a US firm".

    Is it really that 'easy' to make the move? I would imagine you would have to be a star junior to make such a move?
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    (Original post by O'Doyle Rules)
    I've always wondered at the statement "once qualified at a MC shop, you can just jump ship to a US firm".

    Is it really that 'easy' to make the move? I would imagine you would have to be a star junior to make such a move?
    Lost enough trainees at the point of qualification to know it is very possible. Seen it with SC firms too (if anything that's more common given the intake sizes).

    Also seen enough 1-5 PQE lawyers make the move to US firms.




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