Can corporate lawyers go into gov't service??

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vamedic03
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Re: Can corporate lawyers go into gov't service??

Postby vamedic03 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:46 am

IAFG wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:FWIW - I was at a talk by the US Attorney for W.D.VA (and a former AUSA for DC and W.D.VA and former big law partner). He said that he could care less what practice area an attorney was in when they worked for big law. He said that he would have to train them regardless of what they had done before. So, what he said that he focused on was hiring the people who were in the top of their associate class who were known for doing high quality work. He was less concerned with a specific skill set and more concerned with abilities.

"top of their associate class"? associates are ranked?


Ranked? no, but, people perform at different levels.

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IzziesGal
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Re: Can corporate lawyers go into gov't service??

Postby IzziesGal » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:52 am

vanwinkle wrote:
IzziesGal wrote:My problem is that I love learning all aspects of the law. My 1L summer job was great because I learned several different areas of substantive law, worked on lit, and worked on transactions and contracts. I enjoyed it all and was constantly kept on my toes. Sigh.

If this is the way you think I highly recommend you become a litigator. I've had many discussions about this before and through OCI with folks on both sides, litigation and corporate practice, and this is what I gathered:

Corporate practice rewards a high degree of specialization. If you learn the law in one particular area then you can just keep drafting agreements over and over and over again with the same knowledge, so specializing is very efficient. You focus on doing one or a few types of corporate work and keep doing them over and over and get better as you go on, and then you sell those skills to people who need that type of thing done.

Litigation, on the other hand, rewards generalization at least to some extent. The thing that keeps repeating is the procedure in the courtroom, but so many new and different issues arise in litigation constantly that the advantage is in being able to have a broad spectrum of experiences and know how to adapt to new settings. A lot of firms don't have their litigators specialize too distinctly even as partners because of this, and once you've learned how to litigate a case fully you have the skills necessary to litigate almost any kind of case.

If you want to keep learning new and different areas of the law you'll get to do that much more as a litigator. Further, your litigation skills will allow you to move around and go different places, from criminal prosecution at the AUSA to civil defense in a number of different matters at a law firm to a variety of pro bono appearances. You'll still have the chance to learn how contracts and corporations work since as a corporate or white-collar litigator you might end up litigating contracts and have to deal with the language in them very closely.

So I think you'd be happier in the long run doing lit. You'd always be presented with new things to learn and play with, something that's going to be true much less often as a corporate attorney.


Wow - this was incredibly helpful. I definitely am the type of person who needs to constantly be doing and learning new things, and it sounds like corporate practice doesn't lend well to that. Thanks for the info - I really appreciate it!!

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BunkMoreland
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Re: Can corporate lawyers go into gov't service??

Postby BunkMoreland » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:25 am

He's right, but corporate attorneys can be generalists as well. Lots of firms base their attorney development entirely around that concept. Plus, you work across alot of industries doing deals, so there's still tons of opportunities to be learning new and interesting things. Just saying. Plus, in-house is the dream job of lawyers :)

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Can corporate lawyers go into gov't service??

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:56 am

You should look in to doing debtor-side bankruptcy work. I had the same problem (couldn't choose between the litigation/corporate divide,) so I chose the practice that does everything.

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IzziesGal
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Re: Can corporate lawyers go into gov't service??

Postby IzziesGal » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:10 am

BunkMoreland wrote:He's right, but corporate attorneys can be generalists as well. Lots of firms base their attorney development entirely around that concept. Plus, you work across alot of industries doing deals, so there's still tons of opportunities to be learning new and interesting things. Just saying. Plus, in-house is the dream job of lawyers :)


What makes it the dream job of lawyers? I used to think this would be great, but not so sure anymore.

ToTransferOrNot wrote:You should look in to doing debtor-side bankruptcy work. I had the same problem (couldn't choose between the litigation/corporate divide,) so I chose the practice that does everything.


Can you tell me a bit about what you do?

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Can corporate lawyers go into gov't service??

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:11 pm

I'm not a practicing attorney - I just picked my future practice area (I'm a 3L) based on the combination of transactional/litigation work bankruptcy folks do on the debtor-side.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Can corporate lawyers go into gov't service??

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:25 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:You should look in to doing debtor-side bankruptcy work. I had the same problem (couldn't choose between the litigation/corporate divide,) so I chose the practice that does everything.

I was a bankr paralegal and concur with this sentiment. When an entity goes bankrupt, it's going to pull in resources from pretty much every practice imaginable. Very good practice area if you want broad exposure. Also a very popular practice area for juniors, eite.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Can corporate lawyers go into gov't service??

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:42 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:You should look in to doing debtor-side bankruptcy work. I had the same problem (couldn't choose between the litigation/corporate divide,) so I chose the practice that does everything.

I was a bankr paralegal and concur with this sentiment. When an entity goes bankrupt, it's going to pull in resources from pretty much every practice imaginable. Very good practice area if you want broad exposure. Also a very popular practice area for juniors, eite.


Well, it's a combination of both broad exposure to everything, and highly specialized, technical work on the actual "bankruptcy issues."

There aren't too many firms that have really stellar debtor-side bankruptcy practices, but if you can land one of them, I don't understand why everyone isn't after bankruptcy. It isn't just that it's been gangbusters for bankruptcy groups, either - because that (hopefully) won't remain true for much longer (though we'll see what happens in 2012-15 when all of the refinancings come mature).




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