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Joeshmoe123

Transferring to Another City Within Law Firms

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Recently, I secured an articling position [mod edit: with a firm at one of their offices outside of Toronto].

I was wondering, how do large firms look at people transferring to another city? If I wanted to transfer to do my articling in Toronto where I go to school, is this something that the firm could be open to, or is it a question that I should totally avoid asking because it could make them angry and revoke my articling offer? What about if I transferred to Toronto after my articling, assuming I am hired back? Is this possible, or is the expectation that when you are hired, you are hired to work in a particular office location and transferring is something that rarely or never happens? 

Any insight or advice on people that have transferred to a different office locations within a firm would be greatly appreciated. 

Edited by Ryn
Removed some personal information per request

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Did you sign a contract? Would be tough to revoke an offer after that but it could lead a bad taste in their mouth. 

IM not sure about [mod edit: your firm], but a good amount of firms will budget out for their particular office. They recruit and hire for their particular branch and their particular workload. Some firms have a file sharing/"firm-client" approach and may be a bit more open to movement. It's likely that you would have to inquire about openings in the other office and would probably be more suited to lateral 3-5 years out. 

Im just a 3L but that's what I've been told about movement within a firm. Im interested to see how other people feel. 

Edited by Ryn
Removed ref to OP's firm

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1 hour ago, setto said:

Did you sign a contract? Would be tough to revoke an offer after that but it could lead a bad taste in their mouth. 

IM not sure about [mod edit: your firm], but a good amount of firms will budget out for their particular office. They recruit and hire for their particular branch and their particular workload. Some firms have a file sharing/"firm-client" approach and may be a bit more open to movement. It's likely that you would have to inquire about openings in the other office and would probably be more suited to lateral 3-5 years out. 

Im just a 3L but that's what I've been told about movement within a firm. Im interested to see how other people feel. 

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I signed a contract. 

Right now, I'm probably going to do my articles in Calgary like I said I would because they are probably already planning their summer students and all of that on the assumption that I am coming and it would be a bit of a dick move on my part if I suddenly wanted to change the plan. 

Curious to see what people think about a first year associate (assuming I get the hireback) and her chances at transferring to Toronto and whether that's something that is at all feasible. Assuming I don't get the hireback, do Bay Street firms hire people as first year associates, or do they typically just stick with their articling people and start hiring people with 3 to 5 years experience? Sorry for the bombardment of questions, really just trying to figure out my life. 

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Hey you have an hour to edit your posts and then they last forever. I know this doesn't have your name but it's pretty identifying and you may not be aware just how many people check these forums.

Edited by bernard
Typo

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2 hours ago, Joeshmoe123 said:

Recently, I secured an articling position [mod edit: with a firm at one of their offices outside of Toronto].

I was wondering, how do large firms look at people transferring to another city? If I wanted to transfer to do my articling in Toronto where I go to school, is this something that the firm could be open to, or is it a question that I should totally avoid asking because it could make them angry and revoke my articling offer? What about if I transferred to Toronto after my articling, assuming I am hired back? Is this possible, or is the expectation that when you are hired, you are hired to work in a particular office location and transferring is something that rarely or never happens? 

Any insight or advice on people that have transferred to a different office locations within a firm would be greatly appreciated. 

I've never heard of it at the articling student level.  Given that firms typically hire students based on local need, unless you're an obvious superstar, I would expect it wouldn't be well received. 

You do see it at the associate or partner level, but it's typically ad hoc.  At the more senior level, you'll see it when the firm wants to build a practice in another city, they might work with a senior practitioner to move them to that other market (I think of a former colleague who was tasked with establishing BJ's Vancouver office).  At the more junior level, if there's a coincidence of needs of an associate who wants to move, and the firm wants to keep him or her and can use him or her in the other market, there can be opportunities there.  So I wouldn't say it never happens.  That said, I think the expectation is that will work in the office where you were hired - again, you were likely hired based on local need. 

I don't think they would retract your articling offer on the basis of that ask.  It might give them some concerns about your willingness to stay in that market - which might affect their hireback decision if they think you aren't going to stay around.

In terms of first year associate transfers, again, they might discuss it if they, say, had a need in Toronto that you could fill, and wanted to keep you.  I wouldn't count on that.  Bay Street firms do hire first year associates, over and above their articling students, but it depends on needs.  My old firm hired a ton of first years last year (over and above their students) because they needed the manpower in a particular practice area, but that's not an every year thing.  You also see it sometime in more specialized practice areas (e.g., a firm may not have an articling student who is interested - and good - for, say, competition, tax or IP, so need to hire someone externally).  

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47 minutes ago, maximumbob said:

I've never heard of it at the articling student level.  Given that firms typically hire students based on local need, unless you're an obvious superstar, I would expect it wouldn't be well received. 

You do see it at the associate or partner level, but it's typically ad hoc.  At the more senior level, you'll see it when the firm wants to build a practice in another city, they might work with a senior practitioner to move them to that other market (I think of a former colleague who was tasked with establishing BJ's Vancouver office).  At the more junior level, if there's a coincidence of needs of an associate who wants to move, and the firm wants to keep him or her and can use him or her in the other market, there can be opportunities there.  So I wouldn't say it never happens.  That said, I think the expectation is that will work in the office where you were hired - again, you were likely hired based on local need. 

I don't think they would retract your articling offer on the basis of that ask.  It might give them some concerns about your willingness to stay in that market - which might affect their hireback decision if they think you aren't going to stay around.

In terms of first year associate transfers, again, they might discuss it if they, say, had a need in Toronto that you could fill, and wanted to keep you.  I wouldn't count on that.  Bay Street firms do hire first year associates, over and above their articling students, but it depends on needs.  My old firm hired a ton of first years last year (over and above their students) because they needed the manpower in a particular practice area, but that's not an every year thing.  You also see it sometime in more specialized practice areas (e.g., a firm may not have an articling student who is interested - and good - for, say, competition, tax or IP, so need to hire someone externally).  

Would it be fair to say that OP would probably have just as good of a shot switching firms all together when they decide to change markets as a 3-7 year call? 

 

Would likely lead to better salary opportunities as well if you subscribe to the whole "staying at a company for more than X years, yield Y% less money over the course of a career" thing. 

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