Originally Posted by ConcernedParent
Where do the midsized law firms come in, in terms of employment of freshly minted law-grads? I just don't believe everything has to be OMG-NYC-SKADDENARPS OR 50K A YEAR!!!!!
They, largely, don't. There are tons of mid-market firms out there, but they largely hire experienced lawyers. You can either get into mid-law by clawing your way "up" into it, or dropping "down" into it from Biglaw. The classic BIGLAW firms, at least traditionally, had a pyramid-shaped employment structure; lots of juniors, a middling amount of mid-levels, and a handful of equity partners. This is literally a leveraged employment structure; where you have 2-10 salary lawyers working to support 1 equity (ownership) partner. And it was 'up or out' promotion, because you have to keep the equity ranks small, and the base of worker-bees large. Often those that were forced out went to in-house jobs. A lot of those that didn't go in-house dropped down to middle market, or middle America, firms. You spend a few years in Silicon Valley/NYC/DC/Boston, and then when you got burnt out or it was clear that you weren't going to make partner, you parachuted into a mid-market firm where you had "great experience" and connections because you had been sleeping under your desk in Manhattan while grammar checking cutting edge deals that someone else put together. Or you can show them that you're the 6th name on a Supreme Court brief. Mid-market firms often have a 1:1 associate to partner ratio, or even negative leverage (more partners than worker bees). They tend to hire associates laterally (from government, from other firms) where the associate is already experienced, instead of incurring the expenses to train an associate. That way the associate can be profitable from Day 1, instead of Year 2. Which is one reason it's very odd to see an entry-level lawyer job for ~$90k. The whole system is about as screwed up as a football bat, though.