Lawyers that don't have a career plan, fail - great article litigation / RS article…

100% agreed with this dude. People need to have a plan of action and not stumble along becoming seniors. RS / lit have sod all exits. Often times you end up making partner at a bucket shop.

On the other hand, transactional lawyers should be focussing on the 5 PQE mark to decide if they want to and have a realistic chance of partnership, and if not, GC up.

Thanks Biggie, interesting article and kind of you to share it. David Lat wrote something similar back in February:

Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators - There are vast disparities in terms of both market demand and exit opportunities for litigators versus transactional lawyers. 

You've mentioned offshore firms several times. How realistic is the following for a junior associate (2-4 PQE) in the London commercial litigation/insolvency team of a US or Magic Circle firm:

- Move to BVI at 2-3 PQE (to a commercial litigation/insolvency/restructuring role).

- Gain 2-3 years' BVI experience (i.e. to 4-5 PQE).

- Move to an offshore firm in Asia (either the same firm or to another).

- Spend rest of career in offshore firms in Asia (i.e. HK/Singapore), Cayman, or back in BVI.

- And finally, in progression/promotion terms, the following paragraph is from the article you shared. I understand the logic in a US firm, as the business model relies on billing 2000-2500 hours/year, 24/7/365 availability, high leverage, and consequently an 'up or out' culture as people either (a) burn out; (b) opt out; or (c) are booted out to maintain PEP. To what extent do offshore firms, by contrast, offer the chance to remain indefinitely as senior associates/'of counsel', if for whatever reason partnership opportunities are limited?

A fourth-year associate is cheaper. A fourth-year associate will give you three to six years of work before you need to promote or fire them, versus one to three for a seventh-year. A seventh-year associate will be better at the job, but a seventh-year associate is less willing to do the kind of work that midlevel associates do, often has a family and wants to work fewer hours, and will compete with the people already at the firm for middle management positions. Moreover, firms typically have too many senior associates (that is why not all of them get promoted) and not enough people willing to be thrown in the trenches. (Source: Biggie's article, original post)

For the sake of answering the questions above, let's say that money doesn't matter, i.e. this imaginary associate is happy to spend the rest of their life on c£100k/year, on the grounds that they will be grateful to still be better off than 99% people in the world.

I presume you were still in 6th form when this first came out

Re the offshore bullet points - all easy. BVI you can move from 1+, you could move from NQ but they won't want to be holding your hand. 3+ for Cayman as a legal requirement. Offshore firms in Asia have slightly more limited opportunities but they come up and exist. It's not a hard sell.

You can definitely spend the rest of your career offshore although it is looked down on by a lot of city lawyers as being a letterbox. What some people do wanting to come back from Cayman or BVI, and end up joining the London office of an offshore firm. I haven't seen many / any people easily coming back from offshore to London litigation, although I know one or two people who were in the Emirates doing English law who made the move back, but it was a bit bumpy.

US firms just don't have big litigation teams in London and rarely have many openings. But that's also true of many silver circle and MC firms where there is just less liquidity. US firms burn out their transactional associates mostly - litigation generally is a bit more civilised. But management often cull them (historically in pre-pandemic times) - and being a transactional lawyer that's not so bad, because you can go across the road to another US firm or in-house, but if you get culled as a litigator, you often can't do that. I've seen people just contract and contract for years after. And many litigators never experience the culling and last for years and years at one shop.

Offshore firms are much more civilised and yes, there are lots of senior associates and partners who have been there for yonks. The offshore game seems to be a lot about relationship building with onshore lawyers, but it's less technical and that's a downside for some.

I think it's lovely you've found a friend who definitely isn't you talking to yourself biggie 

Glad I’m not the only one who was getting that vibe linda

Literally what I was thinking too heh

One of the most trag pathos things I’ve seen on here ever. And the bar is not high. 

I mean, if biggie were to create an alter ego account to politely agree with his own opinions, ‘mountain’ would def be the username. Other options include ‘Gigantic’, ‘Everest‘, and ‘GERONIMO’.

There's much easier ways of making £100k/year with no prospects without doing offshore litigation in a law firm.

I have no sock puppets. I have not been known as any other name. I am genuinely knowledgeable and helpful. I would just reply to myself or add an additional point if I wanted to bump a thread. I am quite capable of having a decent conversation with myself, I don't need to inject a ficticious persona out of a Hitchcock movie.

Mountain is not me. Hughey is not me. Matty is not me. Tarquin is not me. Dollarpat is not me. Biggie, and always has been, Biggie, the tall, knowledgeable, handsome guy who men want to be, and the women want to be with. Accept it.

*Biggies mum comes into his room and wakes him up and he’s still got his crusty wank sock sitting on his flaccid nob*

I have posted in the past. You’re welcome to ask the moderators to check that my email address correlates to verifiable LinkedIn profile, Facebook account, and all the usual digital breadcrumbs that we leave in the modern world.

I don’t know Biggie, but (a) I have seen people at 8-9 PQE booted out of US law firms; and (b) the UK is looking pretty grim for the foreseeable future (Covid, Brexit, economy, etc) so I found the article he posted at the start of this thread interesting.

I’m posting this now because I feel bad that you’re accusing him of making stuff up, when actually I did find both the article and his answers to my questions useful.

Mountain what did the ones who were booted out do? Surely if they were good enough to be at a US outfit they could downgrade to a city outfit as SA? Or did they quit law?

Whilst they doncome across as a kind of wierd contrived double act, their assessmenta are not entirely wrong imho.

I know. Its really annoying to have people coming on here

 discussing legal practice 

True fact Forster. 

The combination of stating the obvious and regurgitating turgid whining articles adds real insight. 

These points may be obvious to you, Macawbre, but they weren’t to me. Similarly, your characterisation of the originally cited article as regurgitated, turgid and whining and assertion that it does not add insight may reflect your existing experience and knowledge, but they do not reflect my own.

The reason why I remembered the David Lat article from February this year was because that was the first time I became aware of potential disadvantages associated with qualifying into litigation. By contrast, at the Magic Circle firm at which I trained, one of the senior associates (now a partner) mentioned discreetly towards the end of my seat that the firm asked them to be cautious in promoting the merits of qualifying into litigation/disputes, because (a) commercial litigation was the most in demand practice area; (b) the firm could not offer enough qualification places for trainees; (c) transactional teams (with hindsight, the firm’s focus) did need filling; and (d) as with other Magic Circle firms, they were losing trainees on qualification to US firms, and this trend was exacerbated by the demand to qualify into litigation. In other words, there was no indication of downsides to litigation. Finally, information about offshore firms and careers is limited/non-existent as a student or trainee, so I found that similarly useful.

That is the context in which I found the information promulgated by Biggie valuable. You may be an experienced partner with years of practice under your belt, but we are not all in that position. Perhaps in future if you find articles or comments uninteresting, you should just move on to reading something else rather than attempting to impose your preferences on everyone else. 

I don’t understand booting out good experienced people who aren’t challenging to become management.  Some of us are also happy to do any kind of work and don’t get precious about stuff being too lowly.  Actually I like the lowly stuff as I can do it whilst working out other things.

Thuggy was taken under Hoolie's wing from under an alcohol splattered bridge in Waterloo 

He's just projecting and overcompensating  


Do i look like one of them posh City khunts?

fecking cheek.