Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Insurance Defense or State AG?

If you had these options, which would you take and why? I t3success12/18/16
AG's office. Especially if it is an actual 40 hour week. You thirdtierlaw12/18/16
AG's office by a mile. e36m312/18/16
this isn't even close. AG dingbat12/18/16
AG. Easy winner. In re Jag, just make sure you will be able mtobeinf12/18/16
Is this a flame? I kinda think it is. This is like AG>>>> shikes12/18/16
Not flame lol. Maybe I have been brainwashed about "working t3success12/18/16
Ask for 10k more if you get the offer at the AG, it's not th whipster12/18/16
This is easy. Have you given any thought to what health ins bigbossman12/19/16
AG, easy decision. flharfh12/21/16
I have to make a final decision today. I negotiated a salary t3success02/02/17
I'd suggest taking the AG gig if it is 40 hours per week and jj1002/02/17
Calculate your present hours commitment (billable quota plus flharfh02/02/17
This is such a good point. When I did this calculation I act t3success02/03/17
Depending on how many hours a week you work in ID, you may b bucwild02/02/17
Make sure to also factor in any pension plan they may put yo thirdtierlaw02/02/17
I only know from NY OAG, and that would be low for their off trollfeeder02/02/17
If you don't like the AG, you will always be able to go back 2breedbares02/02/17
Yes pension and better vacation. t3success02/02/17
For what it's worth, I made a similar decision recently and 2breedbares02/02/17
Excellent replies! Looks like AG wins! t3success02/02/17
Good luck. I've taken steps back in salary to learn more or 2breedbares02/02/17
The state's pension system is an incredible benefit if you p jeffm02/02/17
Surprised pensions are that large in the Democratic republic 2breedbares02/02/17
Been in ID for 5 years. If the state AG office came a knock jd4hire02/03/17
AG's office for all the reasons aforesaid, plus upward mobil anothernjlawyer02/03/17
You could also go in-house at different state agencies, whic skychaser02/03/17
And PSLF while it lasts skychaser02/03/17
I work at a state AG office, and while I enthusiastically su wolfman02/04/17
9-6 and no weekends is still better than what most of us hav mtbislife02/04/17
Exactly. This shouldn't even be a hard decision. prestiiigiousone02/10/17

t3success (Dec 18, 2016 - 8:19 am)

If you had these options, which would you take and why?

ID is at a large firm with high billables and pays 15k more than the AG job. This is low end ID, i.e slip and falls and red car blue car auto / truck accidents.

The AG job would be in a niche litigation section, working 40 hours per week.

Both jobs appear to have limited growth in terms of pay.

One additional consideration, I believe the AG job would give me the opportunity to do the Air Force JAG Reserves, which is something I have been considering for a while. ID on the other hand will not be accommodating to that when I have high amounts of hours to bill. Yes, I know about USERRA but could easily be canned for other pretextual reasons.

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thirdtierlaw (Dec 18, 2016 - 8:28 am)

AG's office. Especially if it is an actual 40 hour week. You'll have better exit options if you want to leave.

See the threads below about high billable ID work.

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e36m3 (Dec 18, 2016 - 9:05 am)

AG's office by a mile.

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dingbat (Dec 18, 2016 - 9:13 am)

this isn't even close. AG

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mtobeinf (Dec 18, 2016 - 9:23 am)

AG. Easy winner. In re Jag, just make sure you will be able to pass all the clearance. I was lucky to get bailed out during the Iraq years as I was a day away from signing my contract 2x. However my back is so destroyed from a car accident I would have gotten 4Hd. Also broken bones that I would have had to lie about. Anxiety id have to lie about bunch of shyte Recruiters train you on how to lie and pass any tests ranging from screenings to polygraph u may need to take. So bear that in mine too. They may be bs'n as well

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shikes (Dec 18, 2016 - 9:32 am)

Is this a flame? I kinda think it is.

This is like AG>>>>>>>>a lot of stuff>>>>>ID.

I seriously don't even know an attorney who would consider ID in your position. If the salary was like 40k+ extra, its at least a dilemma.

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t3success (Dec 18, 2016 - 9:44 am)

Not flame lol. Maybe I have been brainwashed about "working hard" in insurance Defense. I guess I had higher expectations for my life in ID, but the reality is that it sucks big time. Trials basically never happen anymore. Even when they do it gets handled by a partner because of course you can't pay 2 attorneys to do a trial! Insurance Defense is basically a big conveyor belt of mindless letters, form discovery back and forth and settlements on a conveyor belt. I am waiting for, but expecting the AG offer. I'm just at a bargaining stage with myself here. I guess I don't make decisions very quickly or easily.

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whipster (Dec 18, 2016 - 6:44 pm)

Ask for 10k more if you get the offer at the AG, it's not their money so they might give it out. Worked for me at a low-level city position. The 40 hour week makes up for a lot.

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bigbossman (Dec 19, 2016 - 6:35 pm)

This is easy. Have you given any thought to what health insurance costs and/or what retirement costs? My wife just turned down a five figure raise (is secretary) from a private firm that wanted her to leave a government law job. It was 100% not worth it, the private company did not cover dependents at all and it was going to be like $850 a month for worse coverage (before these incoming 20% price hikes starting 2017) to do so. Rough guess her retirement is worth $500 to $700 a month in saved money too. Not to mention job security, easy use of leave, 40 hour week, man I could really go on but this is a real no brainer.

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flharfh (Dec 21, 2016 - 10:44 am)

AG, easy decision.

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t3success (Feb 2, 2017 - 2:51 pm)

I have to make a final decision today. I negotiated a salary of 72k but currently make 88k.

Guidance appreciated. This would be going from general ID to specialized dept for the AG.

Part of me feels like taking this job is giving up since the pay is low and won't get very high. However I do see a lot of people in this area go to biglaw. I'm worried I'll be too old to do so at that point.

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jj10 (Feb 2, 2017 - 2:59 pm)

I'd suggest taking the AG gig if it is 40 hours per week and good benefits. Low end ID is nothe the way to build a career unless you can get a lot of clients. The AG job will really enhance your resume and make you more marketable. Being able to litigate a low end ID case will not.

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flharfh (Feb 2, 2017 - 3:05 pm)

Calculate your present hours commitment (billable quota plus 15% or so) and see how much per hour you actually make. Then compare with the state AG hourly wage.


On a per hour basis you are probably not taking a pay cut, and if the gov't bennies are a lot better you may actually be getting more in total compensation per hour.

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t3success (Feb 3, 2017 - 4:25 am)

This is such a good point. When I did this calculation I actually make the same per hour now that I'm only working 40 hour weeks. Yet another argument against insurance defense.

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bucwild (Feb 2, 2017 - 3:14 pm)

Depending on how many hours a week you work in ID, you may be getting a pay increase, in terms of dollar earned/hour worked, by going with the 40 hour work week at AG.

88k seems really low for ID. Don't all those guys make at least low 100s?

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thirdtierlaw (Feb 2, 2017 - 4:31 pm)

Make sure to also factor in any pension plan they may put you on as a state employee. Consider the job security and the more reasonable work schedule.

Plus the exit options, even if you are in a niche department will be much higher. I don't know how well known the ID firm is, but if you ever move to a different State, working for the AG's office will typically carry more weight in finding a job than a random ID firm. Most importantly, almost by default, you'll be litigating more complex legal issues, at the AG's office. Especially if some people have left that unit to go to biglaw.

I am currently battling this same dilemma, but I wouldn't be leaving ID, so I understand the struggle of a pay cut and the feeling of "giving up." But what I'm starting to realize is that having a bigger house or nicer car, isn't as exciting if you're never home and don't really have a life.

So what you really need to ask yourself is whether you'll be happier 15 years from now having worked a high billable job and possibly have made a lot more money. Or having worked a lower stress job, where you had much more free time with family, friends, hobbies, etc., but lived a middle-class life-style. (maybe upper middle class if you're in flyover country.)

There isn't a right or wrong answer, just what is more important to you.

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trollfeeder (Feb 2, 2017 - 3:13 pm)

I only know from NY OAG, and that would be low for their office.

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2breedbares (Feb 2, 2017 - 3:32 pm)

If you don't like the AG, you will always be able to go back to ID. On the other hand, state AG doesn't knock on the door all the time.

Does state job have pension? I imagine health and vacation benefits are much better.

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t3success (Feb 2, 2017 - 7:01 pm)

Yes pension and better vacation.

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2breedbares (Feb 2, 2017 - 3:38 pm)

For what it's worth, I made a similar decision recently and chose the state. I'm in CA and state jobs are difficult to get. Here's what made me choose:

1. State pension, benefits, and vacation can't be found in any firm.

2. PI jobs are a dime a dozen. You can always go back to PI if you find the state job isn't for you.

Other factors I considered aren't applicable to you, but I imagine you'd learn more at the AGS office and be more marketable.

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t3success (Feb 2, 2017 - 6:59 pm)

Excellent replies! Looks like AG wins!

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2breedbares (Feb 2, 2017 - 8:10 pm)

Good luck. I've taken steps back in salary to learn more or seem more prestigious, so I know it sucks. But I've found it worth it in the long run. And I personally know some ex California AGs who went into bigger and better midsized firms.

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jeffm (Feb 2, 2017 - 8:25 pm)

The state's pension system is an incredible benefit if you put in a long time. I don't know exactly what it would be, but I have friends in gov't who are fully vested and will retire and continue to make something like 70-80% of final pay for the rest of the lives. Needless to say, I am envious!

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2breedbares (Feb 2, 2017 - 8:48 pm)

Surprised pensions are that large in the Democratic republic of Texas. Unfortunately, new pensioners in CA will probably get 40% of highest salary at most, but that's still better than privately funding retirement if it pays out.

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jd4hire (Feb 3, 2017 - 9:03 am)

Been in ID for 5 years. If the state AG office came a knocking for me, I'd be gone. Didn't read all posts, so forgive me if duplicative, but loan repayment, lack of billable hours, involvement in interesting litigation (was it civil or criminal division), benefits (retirement, vacation, sick, health), and having a true 9-5 all militate heavily in favor of the AG.

Good luck.

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anothernjlawyer (Feb 3, 2017 - 10:08 am)

AG's office for all the reasons aforesaid, plus upward mobility.

AGs can go on to become judges or ALJs, or can take higher level positions (deputy commissioners, etc.) in state agencies. At the very least, the increased trial work you'll get should make you more attractive to potential future employers.

Low end ID gets you a divorce and serious health problems by age 50.

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skychaser (Feb 3, 2017 - 2:52 pm)

You could also go in-house at different state agencies, which usually have better psy than the AG.

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skychaser (Feb 3, 2017 - 2:57 pm)

And PSLF while it lasts

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wolfman (Feb 4, 2017 - 7:52 am)

I work at a state AG office, and while I enthusiastically support the choice to go to one (some of the stories I read on here regarding private practice are just... something else... but then I was never in a firm) no lawyer in my (also somewhat niche and litigation-oriented) section works a true 9-5. People still roll in around 9 but usually leave around 6 or 6:30, unless it's Friday or they are in court; no one says they can't leave on the dot at 5, but it just isn't done. Not that that's unreasonable for an attorney, but I just wanted to be accurate.

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mtbislife (Feb 4, 2017 - 10:42 am)

9-6 and no weekends is still better than what most of us have to do haha.

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prestiiigiousone (Feb 10, 2017 - 10:18 am)

Exactly. This shouldn't even be a hard decision.

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