Everyone tells me it's a no-brainer. I'm not so sure. (lawyers, please read)

I apologize if this is a just plain stupid thread, but I’ve been getting advice and opinions from lots of people who are all telling me one thing but my own gut instinct tells me another.

The long and the short of it is this: I’m a lawyer working at a large firm in a small city. I have 3.5 years to go to partnership and am confident that unless I really really screw up, I’ll make partner. But, I’ve received a job offer that will immediately double my salary and will allow me to put a very prestigious law firm on my resume. I’ll make a boatload of money very quickly, and since I still have significant student loans and basically no savings, that’s important. At the same time, I really enjoy my current work and have developed very close professional and personal relationships with the people in my practice group. The new job will have much less responsibility and autonomy–I’m basically going to be a highly paid worker bee reviewing lots of documents and never getting to court and rarely having responsibility for my own files. I seriously doubt the new job would be one I’d stay at for more than 18 months or 2 years.

If it totally sucks, I could probably come back to my current firm but, of course, there are no guarantees and I suspect that some of the partners would view my defection as disloyal, thus rendering me unfit to ever return. The critical issue with the current firm is that it is one of only a couple in the state that will allow me to practice almost exclusively in the area I’m in now (appellate)–most firms have lawyers handle their own appeals.

Thoughts, suggestions, comments?

Hmmm, money is fun. It’s cool. We love money.
But would you be HAPPY at your new job. Would you wake up in the morning and say,“YAY! I’ so excited about going to work.” or even “I don’t mind going to work today. It should be a pretty decent job.”
If you think the new job might make you unhappy or miserable in anyway, don’t sacrifice your sanity for a couple more bucks.

I dunno either, this second one sounds like the kinda thing where you do 2 hours of work and 6 hours of posting here. But what do I know? Yes, paying off student lones is important, but so is happiness. “Sometimes, things we own start to own us.” God, I love that movie (fight club). I’d say that you’ll pay them off eventually one way or anoter, and if you don’t think you’ll enjoy the job at all then don’t take it.

Do you want to practice law or do you want to research it? Do what you love to do - the student loans will get paid either way and you won’t wake up in the morning dreading work. That would be hell.

You say that the offer would double your salary? That sounds to me like you’re underpaid where you are now. My thought is that it could be a good time to ask your boss for a raise. If you get a substantial raise, forget the offer. If you don’t, you might want to consider the offer seriously.
It sounds to me like you’re in a pretty strong negotiating position, and you might as well exploit it.
As for taking one job as opposed to the other, that would depend on the numbers. The answer is going to be different if you’re talking 30k vs. 60k or if its 60k vs. 120k. If a doubled salary would allow you to conceivably get the student loan monkey off your back in 2 years, that’s a powerful temptation, and when the monkey’s gone you could see about going back to your old firm.

I agree with 2ndlaw about sniffing around for a raise at your current place. But, if you really think you would be burning your bridges about leaving this firm, I’d think twice about it.

I do appellate work myself, and I know it’s not an easy area to specialise in, particularly in a smaller jurisdiction. Besides the money, what does the new job have going for it? I’d go with the job satisisfaction over the money (full disclosure: it’s what I did). It sounds like the money is the only reason you’re thinking about the switch.

I agree with 2ndlaw. Go ask for a raise. Mention the other offer. Say you’d rather stay with “the firm”. If they make a reasonable offer, then they are a good company to work for. If they tell you to forget it, then you can leave witha clear conscience (as if Atorneys have one :smiley: ). I would NOT suggest naming the other firm, or giving any indication who they are, or how much more (just say a “VERY substantial” amount). Tell your current co you were “headhunted”*, so the know you were not out looking, very important. You might or might not mention the student loans, depending on how conservative/family they are. I have known one co to pay off the loans with a no interest loan, to be forgiven if he stayed for 5 years.

One question: why am I helping my natural enemy?
*even if you weren’t.