City of New York Law Dept. Reviews | Glassdoor

City of New York Law Dept. Reviews

Updated April 3, 2017
34 reviews

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34 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Assistant Corporation Counsel - Tort Division"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York, NY
    Recommends

    I have been working at City of New York Law Dept. full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good supervisors and colleagues
    Great training and early experience
    Good benefits
    Room for promotion to management
    Ability to transfer divisions should you want to explore another area of the law

    Cons

    This is a government office and the salary scale reflects that. New attorneys start at $68k. I am 5 years in and make $88k.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Assistant Corporation Counsel"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at City of New York Law Dept. full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Attorneys receive hands-on legal experience immediately upon starting work. Leave the document review and being the 6 associate on a matter for the law firms. The real world litigation experience here can't be surpassed. Because no one is trying to make partner, it is an incredibly collegial and supportive work environment.

    Cons

    Salaries are not competitive with the private sector and long, sometimes stressful, hours are worked in some of the litigating divisions. That is, hours are about as long as in private firms, but for about two-thirds the pay.

    Advice to Management

    It's a great place to work, but there needs to be more advancement opportunities for those who thrive in the environment and don't want to leave.

  3. "Assistant Corporation Counsel"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Pleasant work environment
    Supervisors tend to be very nice
    Opportunity to obtain lots of experience in a particular area of law
    Can transfer between different divisions if you want different experiences
    Some opportunity for advancement
    Pension and benefits (although these are nothing to get too excited about)

    Cons

    Low salary
    Often long hours
    Often very high stress


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Good Experience, but move on quickly"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Lots of good, hands-on experience

    Cons

    Poor pay, not much room for growth, hard to get promoted past senior counsel. Lots of dead weight that were promoted years ago and would be fired anywhere else. "Churn and burn" style of management.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management is generally terrible - philosophy is to work people to death and hope they leave due to the low pay and low morale.


  5. Helpful (5)

    "L&E"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at City of New York Law Dept. full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great work experience that routinely challenges and gives hands on litigation experience! Junior attorneys are all fantastically smart, great colleagues to have, and form a great support system for the lack of support and training available from leadership and institutionally.

    Cons

    Terrible management exemplified by constant exodus of colleagues on average one per month, if not more. Exodus means tons of reassignment of cases mid-litigation that are often in less than ideal shape. People usually leave because of either burn out or low low compensation and would prefer big law hours since they are not that dissimilar to the hours at the Law Department. Management exercises preferences for those they like more in the assignment of cases and trials and routinely fails to support staff if facing outside criticism.

    Advice to Management

    Double pay or half the case load if you want any chance of retaining people. Having an attorney leave every month speaks to the nature of the workplace.


  6. "Collegial environment. Lots of growth potential"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Counsel in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Counsel in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at City of New York Law Dept. (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Lots of growth potential for the superstars. You get early responsibility and courtroom experience.

    Cons

    Work can be repetitive. More work than hours in the day.


  7. "Senior Trial Counsel"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Trial Attorney in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Trial Attorney in New York, NY
    Recommends

    I have been working at City of New York Law Dept. full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Immediate responsibility and a great deal of autonomy.
    Supervision only when you really need it or ask for it.
    Lots of courtroom time

    Cons

    The pay is very low, even for public service jobs.
    The work is not distributed evenly (or in any way that makes sense).
    Salary seems to have very little to do with merit.

  8. Helpful (5)

    "Experience will depend on your own work ethic, but significantly affected by the approach of the department lead."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at City of New York Law Dept. full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Amazing litigation experience, if you're the type to truly litigate cases. Great on-going training efforts to let you learn as much as you can. You can transfer between divisions and learn the substantive law in different areas (e.g. labor employment v. tax/bankrupcy v.commercial law), to let you really see what you like to do, and when you manage get out, market yourself in that field with real experience.

    Cons

    Pathetic pay, so unless you have no debt, coming here is a poor choice. Management should get rid of unmotivated lifer colleagues who contribute nothing except take up precious department budgets (which can be used to compensate the hard working motivated workers). The division you are in, in particular the management style of your division chief, and to a lesser extent your team leader, will determine how worthwhile your efforts are. Some chiefs or team leads are happy to settle to get rid of cases - this makes the work a joke, you're basically claims adjustors, there's no litigation in this work. If you are lucky to be under a team leader who encourages and leads you to litigate cases properly, you'll be working your behind off, but you will have incredible, substantive litigation experience under your belt. All for the same pay as your slacker colleagues, but this means you'll know so much more to be able to market yourself when you are ready to leave. And what you learn through your efforts will continue to make you shine as a good litigator at your next job, because there's no private sector job that will provide you with the opportunity to gain as much experience as early on in your a career as at the Law Department.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the slackers. Don't be so risk adverse and settle everything. It makes the work a joke and it makes the courts and adversaries disrespect us. Teach attorneys how to dig in deep into legal issues, litigate when you're supposed to litigate, be like real attorneys out in the real world.


  9. "Excellent opportunity."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York, NY
    Recommends

    I worked at City of New York Law Dept. full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Frequent departmental meetings, discussions of active cases.

    Cons

    Advancement seems to be difficult to achieve here.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Can be a great experience for a young attorney, but your experience will vary by division and among supervisors."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Assistant Corporation Counsel in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at City of New York Law Dept. full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Opportunities for great substantive experience, and work can be interesting, but it seems easy to get into a rut. As mentioned elsewhere, potentially a great work-life balance, though some divisions do work longer than others.

    Cons

    Some supervisors have very little drive or incentive to supervise and train young attorneys; laid back atmosphere makes it easy to stagnate professionally.

    Advice to Management

    The entire law department needs some way to create better workplace incentives. If you can get yourself into the right division, and with the right supervisors, work can be interesting and rewarding.


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