Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

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Anonymous Abuser
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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby Anonymous Abuser » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:41 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:And truth be told, the quality of lawyering that goes on is simply lower. Read the briefs in any big plaintiff case - compare the plaintiff briefs to the defense briefs. While there are obviously exceptions, the difference in quality is really noticeable.


Of course it is going to be noticeable when you have a 700 lawyer firm on the defense side and a 15 attorney firm on the plaintiff side.

And, of course, the opposite can be said: you take a senior associate from Keker, Susman, or Gibbs -- firms with a large plaintiffs docket -- and I bet they'd school most big law partners in litigation.

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:46 pm

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby Anonymous Abuser » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:51 pm

NYAssociate wrote:
Keker, Susman, or Gibbs -- firms with a large plaintiffs docket -- and I bet they'd school most big law partners in litigation.


Sigh, I think the fetishization of boutique firms here on TLS goes too far when I read stuff like this.


It's not a fetishization more than it is logic.

A conservative estimate would be that associates in boutiques get the type of work that someone 3 years their senior would in a big law firm.

It's a product of working on a case team of 3 vs a case team of 15.

That's not including trials.

How many trials do you think a 6th year at Susman has participated in, compared to a 12th year at, say, Paul Weiss?

Participate I mean taking/defending depos solo, putting on/crossing witnesses, first chairing smaller cases...

I'd wager it's close to double.

Litigation, particularly trial work, is a trial by fire learning process. You don't learn by imitation, you learn by doing.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby Holly Golightly » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:52 pm

You went too far with the trials thing. How often do class cases actually go to trial?

That said, I disagree with a lot of what TTON said and just don't care enough to respond/get caught up in an e-argument. Of course people think that way on TLS, what with everyone being so biglaw-minded.

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby Anonymous Abuser » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:54 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:You went too far with the trials thing. How often do class cases actually go to trial?

That said, I disagree with a lot of what TTON said and just don't care enough to respond/get caught up in an e-argument. Of course people think that way on TLS, what with everyone being so biglaw-minded.


Well, I'm kind of off the main path for a second. I'm talking generally, not just in class cases.

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:55 pm

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:00 am

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reasonable_man
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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:18 am

Danteshek wrote:I'm not so sure a firm (Milberg) that paid kickbacks to named class plaintiffs can be called a "top" firm.



Really? Because long after that happened, Arthur Miller (the guy who wrote your 1L civ pro book (and possibly one of the most famous HLS and NYU law professors of all time), signed on to work for them as a special counsel.

--LinkRemoved--

The fact of the matter is that Millberg Weiss, now Millberg, got busted doing the very same thing that lots of other plaintiff's firms did.. So lets not kid ourselves here. And the fact remains that the firm that emerged from that mess is one of the very best plaintiff side firms out there, despite what happened. Besides labatan sucharow, I'd say this is one of the leading firms of its type that you could want to work for.


As for NYC area leading personal injury firms:

Weitz & Luxenberg
Belluck & Fox
Sullivan, Papain, Block, McGrath & Cannovo
Cellino & Barnes
Levy, Phillips & Konigsberg
Trolman, Glaser & Lichtman
Sacks & Sacks
Godosky & Gentile

There are others... But these are all exceptionally good plaintiff personal injury firms. Starting salaries will not provide models nor bottles, but partners at these firms would probably throw themselves off of their yacht, face first, into the propeller, if they woke up one day and were only earning as much as a biglaw partner....

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:22 am

NYAssociate wrote:
Of course people think that way on TLS, what with everyone being so biglaw-minded.


No way. I think some plaintiffs firms are excellent places from which to gain experience. It's just about expectations. I read a lot of glorification of these places here on TLS: People namedropping partners like they're tossing in baseball trading cards, making absolute statements about boutique associates vs. biglaw partners, feeling superior for knowing a "Gibbs" and a "Brunn."

But to be sure, people often neglect the amount of training, work, and talent that biglaw partners have, especially partners at a place like Paul, Weiss. It's no secret here on TLS that most summer associates at Paul, Weiss won't make partner. That's evident from the rampant discussion of exit options. But regarding the people who do actually attain the brass ring, you can bet that they'll have had the training, experience, and overall talent to take on many challenges, including some headstrong senior associate at Joe Boutique.


Ive gone head to head in court and on written briefs with partners from V15 firms on some very complicated constitutional law issues which cannot be discussed because the case is ongoing... These attorneys, in my experience, are brilliant people. Sometimes they may seem to lack some of the down-dirty litigation know-how and often over-think things a little, but they're damn fine lawyers.

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chup
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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby chup » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:59 am

How can everyone on TLS be simultaneously so biglaw-minded and boutique-fetishizing?

The mind, it reels.

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby chup » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:00 am

Also, the stuff about plaintiff firms not having organized summer programs is not entirely true. My guess is that there are fewer of them as a percentage of total firms that have programs, but that doesn't mean there aren't any. I know a guy who was at Lieff Cabraser last summer, for example, and they were at OCI this year.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:03 am

Plaintiff firms are less likely to have full-blown organized summer programs because they are typically smaller operations than most big and/or midlaw firms. However, that is not to say that they won't hire a summer law clerk or two. They also may hire law clerks to work (hold your breath), for the ENTIRE school year, which is what I did in law school (for my last 1.5 years ... working for a mid-sized firm in NY). Plaintiff law firms and firms with less than 100 lawyers in general are often looking for attorneys that can play lawyer ASAP after law school. They cannot afford to treat new attorneys like glorified paralegals for the first 3-years of their training. I was in court for a small appearance my first week of being admitted at my firm of 80-lawyers out of school.. So while smaller midlaws, boutiques and plaintiff shops are not likely to have organized summer programs; the best way in is still to work for these places while in law school. Its just less likely to be the traditional SA type program that will get you in the door.

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby Aqualibrium » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:58 am

chup wrote:Also, the stuff about plaintiff firms not having organized summer programs is not entirely true. My guess is that there are fewer of them as a percentage of total firms that have programs, but that doesn't mean there aren't any. I know a guy who was at Lieff Cabraser last summer, for example, and they were at OCI this year.



I also have friends that clerked at a major plaintiffs firm, and interviewed with others just last month...The fact still is, as you acknowledged, there are few of these positions available in comparison to the defense firm clerk positions. Of course it's not entirely true, there are always firms that differ, but the norm is that those firms don't focus on a clerk program like defense firms do.

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby Anonymous Abuser » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:15 am

I am sorry you feel so butthurt, NYA. If you'd like, please survey 4th year partners at any standard big law firm and then some 6th year associates at any of the firms I just named. If my numbers don't turn out to be accurate, or even conservative, I'll mail you a gift basket to soothe your feelings.

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:20 am

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:23 am

NYAssociate wrote:You're cute, but I don't reall care because I know you're wrong. You seem to be under the impression that biglaw associates do doc review for 8 years, and that the people who billed the most make partner. Cute, but finish 2L before you start talking so authoritatively about what biglaw associates actually do.


and perhaps you should finish 3L? i don't have a horse in this race....just sayin'...

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby doyleoil » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:23 am

Didn't mean to be anonymous - the above was me. ^^

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby Anonymous Abuser » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:56 am

NYAssociate wrote:You're cute, but I don't reall care because I know you're wrong. You seem to be under the impression that biglaw associates do doc review for 8 years, and that the people who billed the most make partner. Cute, but finish 2L before you start talking so authoritatively about what biglaw associates actually do.


If you're a litigator at any firm -- boutique or big law -- you're going to be doing doc review.

I do believe -- and I think it's pretty damn accurate -- that the majority of your first 8 years will be writing memos, drafting briefs, and maybe sitting in on some depos. You'll probably be able to count on one hand how many times you put on or cross witnesses, and the # of motions, even minor, that you argue won't be that much higher.

It's probably not until the very latter part of that 8 years that you start getting first-chair responsibility on anything significant.

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:05 am

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reasonable_man
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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:09 am

My favorite part of TLS: Gross generalizations and broad speculation based on nothing. Yet, I'll post something contrary here and take shots for not being a real lawyer because I post on TLS once in a while.


You are both very right and you are both, also, very wrong. Neither of you has any real experieince to draw upon, so this is sorta like pissing in the wind and arguing about which stream went further...

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:13 am

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby Anonymous Abuser » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:22 am

NYAssociate wrote:
Anonymous Abuser wrote:
NYAssociate wrote:You're cute, but I don't reall care because I know you're wrong. You seem to be under the impression that biglaw associates do doc review for 8 years, and that the people who billed the most make partner. Cute, but finish 2L before you start talking so authoritatively about what biglaw associates actually do.


If you're a litigator at any firm -- boutique or big law -- you're going to be doing doc review.

I do believe -- and I think it's pretty damn accurate -- that the majority of your first 8 years will be writing memos, drafting briefs, and maybe sitting in on some depos. You'll probably be able to count on one hand how many times you put on or cross witnesses, and the # of motions, even minor, that you argue won't be that much higher.

It's probably not until the very latter part of that 8 years that you start getting first-chair responsibility on anything significant.


This is closer to the truth. But it really comes down to the specific big firm at that point. At more trial oriented defense firms, associates are given more opportunities at the mid- and senior levels to do the kind of stuff aspiring trial attorneys want to do.

Believe it or not, doc review probably doesn't last more than two years. I know, at many firms, if you're still "seeking refuge" in doc review by the end of year two, you will be given "the talk"... well maybe not "the" talk, but "a talk" for sure.

Aside from real world experience, many big firms have strong and reputable training programs that establish trial skills pretty well. And if not in-house, many associates are funded by their firms to attend stuff like NITA, another reputable training program for aspiring trial attorneys.


Sure, there are plenty of training programs and mock trial programs, but I don't think that's a substitute for the real thing.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. I'm sure you get plenty of significant litigation experience relatively early on at Boies, Kasowitz, or Williams & Connolly. But, the stereotypical big law firm...not so much.

Doc review may actually last longer at boutiques (unless doc review is outsourced), but it's kind of a necessary skill.

Still, in your first year or two, you're doing things in boutiques that senior associates are just starting to do.

There are definitely benefits to big law, but I don't think significant trial experience in any reasonable time frame is one of them.

You are both very right and you are both, also, very wrong. Neither of you has any real experieince to draw upon, so this is sorta like pissing in the wind and arguing about which stream went further...


This is probably the case.

If you read some boutique-y threads here, you'd get the impression that you're chairing trials at year 3. Not happening.


Big, 9 figure cases? Probably not.

But quite a few of these firms allow you to chair smaller cases (or pro bono cases) within your first couple of years. I could have been lied to, but it also makes sense. They're incentivized to allow this, since they need to get you all the experience you can before you go and make a rookie mistake on a billion dollar securities case.

I am personally the type who would take first chairing $50,000 cases over being the 15th name on a brief submitted in a landmark SCOTUS case. Not everyone is like that, however.

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:28 am

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:30 am

NYAssociate wrote:
But quite a few of these firms allow you to chair smaller cases (or pro bono cases) within your first couple of years.


Junior associates at big firms chair pro bono cases too. In fact, it's one of the ways big firms encourage junior associates to get trial experience.


I didn't get that vibe, either from interviews or working at a big firm last summer. The firms I asked about this said "we can bring in pro bono cases, and we'll get more responsibility than usual on these, but we don't really get to first chair them." It seemed that year 4 or 5 is when you have a shot at doing that.

Of course, I hope you're right, since I'll likely end up in big law.

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Re: Top Plaintiffs' Firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:36 am

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