motivation for clerkships died after landing dream job

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Re: motivation for clerkships died after landing dream job

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What "more lucrative jobs" require a clerkship? You're talking to someone who will be clerking - but I have just about the most lucrative legal paths possible, and it's in spite of the clerkship, not because of it.


Plaintiffs side lit boutiques.

Very hard to land a job with some of the top ones without a clerkship.

But if you can land such a job, odds are pretty you'll be bringing in well over $1 mill before you're 35, with a much higher ceiling than big law (one case that springs to mind from a few years ago...partner who brought it in took home over $30 million).


I don't think you're right. You're citing an individual who took home over $30 million, which is well and good - but the number of LAWYERS who bring home that kind of money is very, very tiny. And a clerkship is no way in hell linked to a $30m payout.

Plaintiff-side contingency firms that are successful can pay off much higher than hours-billed defense side big law firms, but it is a weird thing to say that you should do a clerkship because then you can be a member of one of those firms. I can count on one hand - the number of plaintiff-side boutiques that work on contingency basis, which are successful enough for a young associate to pursue over a traditional defense-side billable-hours model.

Pursuing a clerkship with plaintiff-side in mind is a very bizarre model. Maybe you think that any plaintiff-side firm on account of its structure earns higher than defense-side big law, but if this were the case - top lawyers would just quit their firms and work on contingency. They don't, because litigation is very expensive. I'm flipping through a "law firm business models" book, and they're mentioning exactly what you're talking about, but the way the book describes it - only a handful of firms pull this payment arrangement on the plaintiff side well enough to be attractive enough to walk away from the security of billable defense side big law. Maybe the book, or my read of it, is wrong.

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Re: motivation for clerkships died after landing dream job

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What "more lucrative jobs" require a clerkship? You're talking to someone who will be clerking - but I have just about the most lucrative legal paths possible, and it's in spite of the clerkship, not because of it.


Plaintiffs side lit boutiques.

Very hard to land a job with some of the top ones without a clerkship.

But if you can land such a job, odds are pretty you'll be bringing in well over $1 mill before you're 35, with a much higher ceiling than big law (one case that springs to mind from a few years ago...partner who brought it in took home over $30 million).


I don't think you're right. You're citing an individual who took home over $30 million, which is well and good - but the number of LAWYERS who bring home that kind of money is very, very tiny. And a clerkship is no way in hell linked to a $30m payout.

Plaintiff-side contingency firms that are successful can pay off much higher than hours-billed defense side big law firms, but it is a weird thing to say that you should do a clerkship because then you can be a member of one of those firms. I can count on one hand - the number of plaintiff-side boutiques that work on contingency basis, which are successful enough for a young associate to pursue over a traditional defense-side billable-hours model.


Well, of course a clerkship is in no way linked to a $30m payout, but the attorney who received that $30m payout works at a firm that only hires federal judicial clerks. While the $30m payout may not be the norm, all of their partners (which they expect you to make if you're hired) make $1m+, plus around 1/3 of whatever contingency fees they bring in.

And it may just be the firms on that one-hand to which I'm referring. To be fair, however, it takes me at least two hands to count the ones I have in mind.

Also, please don't confuse plaintiff boutique with firms that ONLY do plaintiff-side work. Probably my fault. However, there are quite a few firms with a 70/30 P/D split, or 50/50, that take almost all of their p work on contingency. All of those require, or at least strongly prefer, clerkships.

Pursuing a clerkship with plaintiff-side in mind is a very bizarre model. Maybe you think that any plaintiff-side firm on account of its structure earns higher than defense-side big law, but if this were the case - top lawyers would just quit their firms and work on contingency. They don't, because litigation is very expensive. I'm flipping through a "law firm business models" book, and they're mentioning exactly what you're talking about, but the way the book describes it - only a handful of firms pull this payment arrangement on the plaintiff side well enough to be attractive enough to walk away from the security of billable defense side big law. Maybe the book, or my read of it, is wrong.


Less about pursuing a clerkship with p-side in mind, but pursuing a clerkship the the goal of getting on one on of these uber-successful boutiques that do a significant amount of p-side work.

I never said there are a ton of them out there, but, to throw one example out, Bartlit Beck only hires judicial clerks. Ambitious and unlikely? Sure. But without a clerkship? Impossible.

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Re: motivation for clerkships died after landing dream job

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:21 am

There are a lot of brilliant legal minds out there who aren't removed from contingency work because they lack the requisite greed, nor are these financially set people tied to their big law conflicts, they could live on interest if they walked away from big law and started a contingency shop. Contemplating contingency side riches is like contemplating winning a lottery.

Frankly, as one big law partner at the firm I'm headed to said to me, lawyering is as smart of a career move as becoming a doctor - if the goal is to become WEALTHY, as opposed to rich. (i.e. not a very smart move)

Lawyering is a safe bet, get paid a lot - by the hour though.

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Re: motivation for clerkships died after landing dream job

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:There are a lot of brilliant legal minds out there who aren't removed from contingency work because they lack the requisite greed, nor are these financially set people tied to their big law conflicts, they could live on interest if they walked away from big law and started a contingency shop. Contemplating contingency side riches is like contemplating winning a lottery.

Frankly, as one big law partner at the firm I'm headed to said to me, lawyering is as smart of a career move as becoming a doctor - if the goal is to become WEALTHY, as opposed to rich. (i.e. not a very smart move)

Lawyering is a safe bet, get paid a lot - by the hour though.


Although I think what I wrote above addresses this somewhat, I will say this: there are lawyers who do get rich and who do win the contingency game. No lawyer who didn't try to do so ever did. Many try and fail. But that doesn't make it impossible or something to avoid aiming for. Ambition goes a long way.

Of course, as I said above, I'm referring to the more established places that let you make more than big law, even if you never hit King of Torts money.

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Re: motivation for clerkships died after landing dream job

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:39 am

A judicial clerkship alone does not a Parker Folse III make.

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Re: motivation for clerkships died after landing dream job

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:59 am

Personally, I got my court experience out of the way 1L summer. The firm where I got my offer doesn't care about clerking, except for the Fed. Circuit and the Supreme Court, neither of which I'm getting.

Kohinoor hit on it - people are acting like bonuses and guaranteed offers are just that - guaranteed. It's 100% not worth it to me to have to uproot my life for a year for middling pay while my loans continue to compound and the firm forgets about why they hired me.

Now if the recent trends continue where people don't clerk until they're a few years out? Eh, maybe I'll consider it. But I'm 3-4 years older than my classmates anyway, and to be honest, it's time to get to work.

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Re: motivation for clerkships died after landing dream job

Postby IAFG » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:12 am

I think what he's describing is shittier. He's saying as a clerk, you're pigeonholed intellectually into thinking like ONE PERSON, who happens to be your boss - and who happens to be a judge, versus thinking like a judge in the generic.

Sounds AWFUL!.[/quote]
Good point better hurry straight into firm work so you can think independently




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