I Have Two Summer Offers


I’ve already received two summer associate offers.  One from a prestigious firm in Atlanta, and one from a top firm in New York.  I’m leaning towards Atlanta, since I’m originally from the South.  Thoughts?

Yeah, don’t do it.  Not even close, homie.  Take the New York offer–whether or not you want to live in New York.  NY firms matter.  Atlanta firms don’t.  Two years in NY and you’ll be legit for the rest of your life.  If you go to the Atlanta firm, you’re pretty much limited to the South.  The good folks at Davis Polk and Sullivan & Cromwell don’t really care about Atlanta firms.  Even if one of the name partners was a former Senator—or some random Ambassador during the Carter administration.  Take the prestige, get the cherry on your resume, and worry about reality next year.

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Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

6 Comments

  1. Tony Chestnut

    October 2, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Yes; NY is the way to go.  You can always go down to the Minor Leauges later, but it’s hard going the other way.  Also, women will be impressed if you work at a NY firm.  No one will be impressed with Atlanta, unless you’re trying to woo some dumb babe in Birmingham, perhaps.

  2. The Realness

    October 2, 2008 at 8:54 am

    I think it depends on what you see yourself doing in the future. If you want to work down south forever, and it seems like the ATL firm would be a much better fit for you, then I would say go with the ATL firm. But if you think you might see yourself working in NY or CA (or a totally different country) at some point, it would prob make more sense to go with the NY firm, based on name recognition. Also, if you don’t know that you want to practice in a firm forever (maybe go in house, or teach, or go for a judgeship), the NY firm will prob serve you better. Just my thoughts.

  3. Anonymous

    October 4, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Go with NYC.  Atlanta is fine if you don’t have aspirations of greatness.  They tallllkkkkkk verrrrryyyyyy slowwwwww downnnn there……  Do you want to be like that?  Didn’t think so.  Also, there are better looking women in NYC.  Colder winters, though.  It’s up to you.

  4. Happy_in_Mi

    October 4, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    I’m going to have to respectfully disagree, though I admit I’m in the minority on this issue.  I went to a top 10 law school and graduated in the top 25% of my class.  Weighing offers from Chicago and Michigan, I chose Michigan, and I haven’t regretted it since.  You should consider whether you will ultimately want to live in New York, and if not, what reciprocity there is between the two bars (i.e. whether you will have to retake the bar if you move).  Other considerations include whether you want to make partner, and how long you want to wait for that.  Look at cost of living analyses for an at least somewhat accurate look at the anticipated value of your salary in each city.  Consider how much you would like to see your family – even in Michigan, I’m not popping out once a month for 3-4 day vacations.  Consider which firm you have better mentoring relationships with, which firm’s associates you are closer to, and which firm has more work that you are genuinely interested in.  If you really have a passion for say environmental litigation, but Big Firm can’t offer you the experience, you may never be able to do that kind of work even if you do return to Atlanta.  When you make a lateral move, firms do expect that you have experience in the area you are trying to market yourself (yes, even in “the little leagues”). 
    And as a last obvious point, if you are married, your spouse should have a lot of input.  He/She isn’t going to see you much over the next fews years.  He/She should at least enjoy the city she is living in while waiting for you to get home.

  5. Atlanta ain't so bad

    October 8, 2008 at 4:05 am

    These two cities are so different, you must be leaning one way or the other. I had a similar option, and I picked Atlanta. Not that it’s the right choice for everyone, but I really like Atlanta and would be miserable in “real biglaw” in a city far away from my family and friends. Unless you have a legitimate motivation to further in life with the big firm, don’t bother. You’ll never be able to get your mid-twenties back.

  6. Al Dickman

    October 8, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Good point. I didn’t think about You must consider your sex life.  You won’t have any in NY, unless you want to spend time with skanks, as the professional women are NOT interested in some 1st year associate.  Not sure about Atlanta.

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