Take BigLaw

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Anonymous User
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:12 pm

Just for illustrative purposes, take a look at the staff of Equal Justice Initiative, a very well-regarded public interest firm (that happens to be in Montgomery, Alabama, which is not necessarily the most desirable location). --LinkRemoved--.

Every single attorney is a graduate of a T-14 school. More than half have clerked. They all have ridiculous credentials.

Just do a bunch of internships and clinics and try to meet as many people as possible in the PI sector. Its more about personal relationships in PI than grades, anyway.


Pretty sure that you have to have really good grades to clerk. Pretty sure personal relationships aren't getting you a job at this place. Grades don't matter for places like public defender offices, but for PI organizations engaging in more complex litigation, grades and other similar signaling devices are extremely important. Networking can really help your cause, but many of these organizations have the luxury of choosing among hundreds of qualified candidates.

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KMaine
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby KMaine » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:40 pm

thrillhouse wrote:So that this doesn't turn into a pissing contest, I also have more than a decade of WE pre-law school, also NDN, also T14 (significantly higher up the chain than Cornell, though like you I had a "wicked generous scholly" to Cornell).


Classy! Since MBW will not say it, she was also accepted to a school "significantly higher up the chain than Cornell." Difference is, she made the right choice :roll: . Please only attack MBW on legitimate grounds. There are pleny of those to attack her on :D , take your pick!

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KMaine
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby KMaine » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:05 pm

KMaine wrote:
thrillhouse wrote:So that this doesn't turn into a pissing contest, I also have more than a decade of WE pre-law school, also NDN, also T14 (significantly higher up the chain than Cornell, though like you I had a "wicked generous scholly" to Cornell).


Furthermore, I am personally offended by the anti-Maine and anti-Cornell bias in this post.

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thrillhouse
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby thrillhouse » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:10 pm

KMaine wrote:
thrillhouse wrote:So that this doesn't turn into a pissing contest, I also have more than a decade of WE pre-law school, also NDN, also T14 (significantly higher up the chain than Cornell, though like you I had a "wicked generous scholly" to Cornell).


Classy! Since MBW will not say it, she was also accepted to a school "significantly higher up the chain than Cornell." Difference is, she made the right choice :roll: . Please only attack MBW on legitimate grounds. There are pleny of those to attack her on :D , take your pick!


I thought I was pretty straightforward about my "attack" on her. It was for being an ass to someone for their predicament, offering advice as though she knew what she was talking about, and then belittling the career decision many people on this board make. But, if all you got out of my long post is what you quoted above, then I'm happy to play the asshole if it'll boost your self-esteem.

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KMaine
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby KMaine » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:26 pm

Dood, my self-esteem needs no boosting. I find it hard to believe that you didn't see that my posts were primarily poking fun at my friend MBW, and I am sorry to offend YOUR fragile sensibilities. Yes, I did think the shot at Cornell was mildly uncalled for, but I think it is farily clear from your last post that I am not the one with my panties in a bunch.

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underdawg
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby underdawg » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:58 pm

i heard some PI places look down on biglaw experience tho. or maybe it's the "elite" ones that do hire straight out: legal aid nyc for instance. it's pretty unfair when it might be easier to get biglaw, and have a near guarantee to have a permanent job, while PI 3L job searching seems pretty scary...also when it's on a different timetable than biglaw permanent hiring. pretty snobbish in its own way

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worldtraveler
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:18 pm

The problem with all the opinions here is that public interest is a really vague and almost meaningless term. I'm interested in public interest work, particularly refugee work in developing countries. I didn't do OCI, and for me I think it was the best decision. I want to spend my 2L summer getting experience. I also have some job opportunities already available upon graduation, however, and I think my situation is rather atypical. I'm also doing a joint degree and so I'm on a bit of a different track.
For most people, it's probably a good idea to do OCI just to see what happens and not lock yourself out of it. This is especially true for people looking for government stuff or PI litigation.
However, I think some posters aren't taking into account just how targeted PI resumes have to be, and that doing a summer in big law can hurt your chances. They look for commitment and lots of experience. This is especially true for DA/PD's offices.
For me, if I don't get a public interest legal job there are other jobs I'd like to do before a different kind of law. If I need to do that, that's okay. I imagine for some people that it wouldn't, and for those people OCI makes a lot of sense.

Anonymous User
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:46 pm

What about taking a Biglaw SA position, then trying to find a PI gig during 3L fall before you must accept the permanent offer (assuming you don't get no-offered)? I realize this is having your cake and eating it too, but just trying to game out scenarios.

Alternatively, what about taking a Biglaw SA position, then getting a judicial clerkship (I know, big assumption) for immediately following graduation, and then seeking PI work following that? Again, assuming no no-offer, this would probably entail rescinding an acceptance from the Biglaw firm if the PI job search is successful. I assume this is bad, but I don't know how bad.

Basically, it would be really nice to have the "security" of a Biglaw position to fall back on in case the PI job search doesn't pan out.

Anonymous User
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:10 pm

What about taking a Biglaw SA position, then trying to find a PI gig during 3L fall before you must accept the permanent offer (assuming you don't get no-offered)? I realize this is having your cake and eating it too, but just trying to game out scenarios.

Alternatively, what about taking a Biglaw SA position, then getting a judicial clerkship (I know, big assumption) for immediately following graduation, and then seeking PI work following that? Again, assuming no no-offer, this would probably entail rescinding an acceptance from the Biglaw firm if the PI job search is successful. I assume this is bad, but I don't know how bad.

Basically, it would be really nice to have the "security" of a Biglaw position to fall back on in case the PI job search doesn't pan out.


Yeah, this is what I would have done in hindsight. I know of several people who are doing just this. It is true that you could get hurt in the PI search by your firm summer, but if you could get a split summer (also rare these days, I know), you might be able to stave off that outcome.

biglawrefugee
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby biglawrefugee » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:01 am

Alright, so this thread seems a little stale, but I can't resist. I did three years in biglaw (through the boom and bust) and just left for a federal agency. [I can't believe that now that I have a life again I am posting on a message board, but SO is watching TV. I am a former xoxo reader who checked that board for the first time in years and saw them laughing about this board. I actually like what I see here as it's not as cruel as xoxo, but way more honest than certain other delusional message boards ("you'll get in everywhere you apply").]

TL; DR: I agree with OP and several posters above. If you show ongoing commitment to PI, you can go from biglaw to PI, though it will take some work. I'm not familiar with the new NALP rules, but, if possible, do PI your 1L summer and then split your 2L summer between firm and PI. Try to get a PI offer before you have to accept the firm offer. If you don't get PI before you have to accept the firm offer: Do two to three years in biglaw, but stay connected to PI. One year before you want to jump back to PI, start actively applying and inquiring about PI jobs. A bolder person may recommend dropping the firm offer at any time before you start for a PI offer, but such a move requires VERY CAREFUL consideration.

Rationale:

Even ITE, I have seen people jump from biglaw to PI and I jumped from biglaw to the federal government. I have also seen people do the second summer split with PI and land awesome PI jobs before having to accept their firm jobs (those were fatter years though).

I have heard from lawyers at PI orgs and federal agencies that they fear biglaw burnouts just looking for an escape; here are a couple of suggestions to avoid this characterization (nothing here necessairly applies to super-prestigious PI or government gigs like ACLU, SG's Office, a lot of DOJ, USAOs, as well as highly-transferable government gigs like SEC, FTC, FDA, NRC, they expect biglaw people to apply):

  • Lay the groundwork for your PI or federal job in law school: Work at a PI org or federal agency 1L year and split your second summer with a similar organization; also use your 2L and 3L years to show interest in PI by doing clinics, pro bono research, PI advocacy, etc. Take classes relevant to your PI/federal job interests and do well.
  • With some exceptions, do litigation when you're stuck in biglaw: There are some speciality regulatory practices that translate well into PI and specific federal agencies, but litigation is going to make you most useful to a PI org or random federal agency down the road. As mentioned by a poster above, these organizations don't necessairly want to train you in the finer points of advocacy.
  • Do pro bono in biglaw: Every V100 firm pays lip service to pro bono and as a junior you can take advantage of this. True, some firms are rumored to have not considered pro bono hours when making mass layoff decisions, but those days are over and you're not going to get canned as a first or second year for doing a lot of pro bono. In your reviews, sell your pro bono experience as agressive training and "taking ownership." Your pro bono experience may get you direct connections to great PI organizations that will come in handy when you want to jump.
  • Get involved in your community when stuck in biglaw: Find out what bar sections/organizations attract the lawyers from PI orgs or federal agencies you are interested in. Join the relevant committees as the young lawyer liason, etc.

To be honest, I really did none of these things, but I was rejected from some pretty cool PI and governments jobs before finding a pretty cool agency that was willing to take a biglaw refugee. I guess I can say that good biglaw credentials, a good LS, and good grades alone will get you a federal attorney job, but I can't necessairly say the same for PI ITE. Associates who did the things I mention above found their way into good PI jobs without much effort (and they had they added benefit of being familiar with the organization before starting).

Black-Blue
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby Black-Blue » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:Just for illustrative purposes, take a look at the staff of Equal Justice Initiative, a very well-regarded public interest firm (that happens to be in Montgomery, Alabama, which is not necessarily the most desirable location). --LinkRemoved--.

Every single attorney is a graduate of a T-14 school. More than half have clerked. They all have ridiculous credentials.

That just ridiculous. Almost all those attorneys have T6 degrees.

MrAnon
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Re: Take BigLaw

Postby MrAnon » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:26 am

I have classmates who skipped OCI and are doing fine getting government and PI interviews.


Do you mean interviews or jobs? Interviews never paid the rent.




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