Five Questions About Litigation!!!!

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PLATONiC
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Five Questions About Litigation!!!!

Postby PLATONiC » Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:32 am

How does litigation work? More specifically:

1. How does one get himself placed into the litigation department of a law firm? Are there specific requirements? How do I go about telling interviewers that I might be interested in tax litigation?

2. Is it true that a single attorney might not work from the beginning to the end of an entire case?

3. How are the tasks involved in a litigation case distributed among lawyers? That is, is there ever a case where one attorney drafts all of the briefs, and then the other simply goes to court with what the other attorney's work (provided that the latter attorney has reviewed the briefs written by another).

4. How do partners delegate the tasks involved in the litigation? Is the partner the one who ultimately appears at court, or is it possible for a second year associate to be the one representing the client there?

5. Is it possible for attorneys to specialize both in transactional work and litigation?

I know I might sound a little off-beat or uninformed, but some thoughtful input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys.

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underachiever
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Re: Five Questions About Litigation!!!!

Postby underachiever » Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:36 am

PLATONiC wrote:How does litigation work? More specifically:
1. How does one get himself placed into the litigation department of a law firm? Are there specific requirements? How do I go about telling interviewers that I might be interested in tax litigation?


Go to a firm that specializes in litigation firm or decide to work in that department (every firm has one) during your 2L summer and tell them that is where you would like to start after graduation. Litigation is the usually the largest department at a firm and is usually what most attorneys Biglaw lawyers do....kind of like an attorney catchall job

PLATONiC wrote:2. Is it true that a single attorney might not work from the beginning to the end of an entire case?


Yes, you are just a part. In the beginning you will review documents, then maybe write pieces of memos/briefs, then depositions and maybe by year 5 see a court room....this is the path at most Biglaw firms.

PLATONiC wrote:3. How are the tasks involved in a litigation case distributed among lawyers? That is, is there ever a case where one attorney drafts all of the briefs, and then the other simply goes to court with what the other attorney's work (provided that the latter attorney has reviewed the briefs written by another).


Most big firms/cases have many more then 1 attorney working on them, but yes, your reviewed work will be used by another senior attorney /partner in court

PLATONiC wrote:4. How do partners delegate the tasks involved in the litigation? Is the partner the one who ultimately appears at court, or is it possible for a second year associate to be the one representing the client there?


Maybe for Pro-bono matters or at a small firm. But at a big firm it is the Partners and Senior Associates who go to court...if you want court time earlier try smaller firms, or some gov't work like DOJ or JAG

PLATONiC wrote:5. Is it possible for attorneys to specialize both in transactional work and litigation?


Not usually. Eventual you have to pick a career path. I am sure there are some outliers, but most attorneys pick a department and just work their way up, getting more responsibility as they go.

Renzo
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Re: Five Questions About Litigation!!!!

Postby Renzo » Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:32 am

All of the above is true, although it assumes one is at a big firm. It's possible to "specialize" in both transactions and litigation if you're in a solo practice, but you'll be litigating slip-and-fall neck pain cases and doing transactional work preparing wills, and doing both for peanuts.

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nealric
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Re: Five Questions About Litigation!!!!

Postby nealric » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:36 pm

1. How does one get himself placed into the litigation department of a law firm? Are there specific requirements? How do I go about telling interviewers that I might be interested in tax litigation?

2. Is it true that a single attorney might not work from the beginning to the end of an entire case?

3. How are the tasks involved in a litigation case distributed among lawyers? That is, is there ever a case where one attorney drafts all of the briefs, and then the other simply goes to court with what the other attorney's work (provided that the latter attorney has reviewed the briefs written by another).

4. How do partners delegate the tasks involved in the litigation? Is the partner the one who ultimately appears at court, or is it possible for a second year associate to be the one representing the client there?

5. Is it possible for attorneys to specialize both in transactional work and litigation?


1. Umm... just tell them when they ask that you would like to litigation. No specific requirements. BTW: Tax litigation is very different from general commercial litigation- it's usually done out of the tax department, not the lit department. A lot of tax practice is administrative as well (which has both transactional and litigation aspects).

2. Yes. Some cases last years. You might be long gone from the firm before the case is resolved.

3. Distributing the work is up to the firm

4. Very rare that a junior associate would go to court in a large firm.

5. It depends. It's much more common for crossover in specialty areas like Tax and Bankruptcy. It's very rare for someone to do both commercial litigation and M&A work.

Hitachi
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Re: Five Questions About Litigation!!!!

Postby Hitachi » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:32 pm

Bankruptcy is another area where you might be able to do both transactional and litigation.

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PLATONiC
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Re: Five Questions About Litigation!!!!

Postby PLATONiC » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:41 pm

Wow underachiever! You've really given me a lot of insight. :D:D

nealric wrote:
1. How does one get himself placed into the litigation department of a law firm? Are there specific requirements? How do I go about telling interviewers that I might be interested in tax litigation?

2. Is it true that a single attorney might not work from the beginning to the end of an entire case?

3. How are the tasks involved in a litigation case distributed among lawyers? That is, is there ever a case where one attorney drafts all of the briefs, and then the other simply goes to court with what the other attorney's work (provided that the latter attorney has reviewed the briefs written by another).

4. How do partners delegate the tasks involved in the litigation? Is the partner the one who ultimately appears at court, or is it possible for a second year associate to be the one representing the client there?

5. Is it possible for attorneys to specialize both in transactional work and litigation?


1. Umm... just tell them when they ask that you would like to litigation. No specific requirements. BTW: Tax litigation is very different from general commercial litigation- it's usually done out of the tax department, not the lit department. A lot of tax practice is administrative as well (which has both transactional and litigation aspects).

2. Yes. Some cases last years. You might be long gone from the firm before the case is resolved.

3. Distributing the work is up to the firm

4. Very rare that a junior associate would go to court in a large firm.

5. It depends. It's much more common for crossover in specialty areas like Tax and Bankruptcy. It's very rare for someone to do both commercial litigation and M&A work.


I'm trying to focus on "tax" in the future, considering my accounting background as well as my love for theory. I'm also planning on starting my own law firm (not a solo-practice) in the future, so I want to try and specialize on both transactional work as well as litigation.

How much courtroom experience would a biglaw partner who specializes in transactional tax have in the mid-level stage of his career?

It's pretty reassuring to hear that tax is somewhat of a separate department; I'm not interested in commericial litigation, so that's a plus.

How much does a CPA help in tax litigation?

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nealric
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Re: Five Questions About Litigation!!!!

Postby nealric » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:08 pm

I'm trying to focus on "tax" in the future, considering my accounting background as well as my love for theory. I'm also planning on starting my own law firm (not a solo-practice) in the future, so I want to try and specialize on both transactional work as well as litigation.

How much courtroom experience would a biglaw partner who specializes in transactional tax have in the mid-level stage of his career?

It's pretty reassuring to hear that tax is somewhat of a separate department; I'm not interested in commericial litigation, so that's a plus.

How much does a CPA help in tax litigation?


1. A transactional tax partner would have no courtroom experience at all unless he/she started doing something else or does tax lit as well. Usually you do one or the other, but there can be some crossover.

2. CPA won't help all that much. Tax law is very different from accounting. In terms of getting your first job it does present a convincing reason why you are interested in tax. Basically, it's a soft factor.

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PLATONiC
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Re: Five Questions About Litigation!!!!

Postby PLATONiC » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:24 pm

nealric wrote:
I'm trying to focus on "tax" in the future, considering my accounting background as well as my love for theory. I'm also planning on starting my own law firm (not a solo-practice) in the future, so I want to try and specialize on both transactional work as well as litigation.

How much courtroom experience would a biglaw partner who specializes in transactional tax have in the mid-level stage of his career?

It's pretty reassuring to hear that tax is somewhat of a separate department; I'm not interested in commericial litigation, so that's a plus.

How much does a CPA help in tax litigation?


1. A transactional tax partner would have no courtroom experience at all unless he/she started doing something else or does tax lit as well. Usually you do one or the other, but there can be some crossover.

2. CPA won't help all that much. Tax law is very different from accounting. In terms of getting your first job it does present a convincing reason why you are interested in tax. Basically, it's a soft factor.


Thanks a lot nealric. I've been looking up a lot of the comments that you've been posting about tax-work:D

But yeah... no courtroom experience is a complete no-no for me :( It's really important for me to have a lot of courtroom experience if I'm going to lay out my shingle in the future. I hope that it isn't too difficult to have practices in both... I'm just counting on what you said about tax practices having a lot of cross-over areas.

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JCougar
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Re: Five Questions About Litigation!!!!

Postby JCougar » Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:28 am

FWIW, a very good friend of mine is already doing courtroom work in the middle of her third year at a V100 firm (and it's not tax or bankrupcy). She did do a bunch of moot court in LS, and received Order of the Barristers (and finished in the top 1% of her class from a T1). But I gather that's more of the exception rather than the rule. I don't know exactly the extent of what she's doing in the courtroom, but she's certainly seeing the inside of it.




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