from in-house to big law?

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pippo8848
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from in-house to big law?

Postby pippo8848 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:45 am

I graduated from college with a chemistry degree last summer, and got a job from a big corporate as a chemist. So far my work experience has been great, and luckily my employer sponsored the H1B visa for me (I'm a foreigner). However, because of my interests in law, I have decided to go to law school in 2 years.

I have two options. One is to keep my job and go to school part-time, which would take longer time but at least debt-free (my employer might take care of the tuition fees for me). Also, I wouldn't have to worry about getting a job after law school, since I already have one. Although a job that requires both the technical skills and the legal skills is not guaranteed, I'm positive that a position like that would be available for me given time. My question is that, is it possible to work for a big law firm after working in-house for a few years? Also, I might have to miss the summer internships. Would this hurt the chance of getting in the big law firms?

The other option is full-time law school. The best law school in town has the best law school in the state, but not widely known outside of the state (ranks around 50). So if I become a full-time student and is open to other locations, chances are I would end up in a better law school. But in this case, I would have to quit my job and lose the financial support from my employer. I would also be facing lots of pressure when looking for a job, not only because of the economy downturn, but also because of my visa status (I would have to find an employer that's willing to sponsor a H1B visa for me).

So the part-time law school would keep me debt-free, whereas the full-time would give me more options of the schools and save me time. Do you guys have any input to my dilemma? Thanks a lot.

Sup Kid
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby Sup Kid » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:57 am

This doesn't apply to me, but I have constantly read that law students that need an employer to sponsor them for an H1B visa had a significantly harder time gaining employment due to the added expense and procedures that are required. Basically, ITE, there is such a surplus of eligible employees that biglaw firms are unwilling to go the extra step to deal with the visa issues, especially for a student from a T50 school, when there are plenty of other, qualified students to choose from. I would say stick with the debt-free education and current employment -- once you get your degree you'll be able to see what options are available to you. I wouldn't give that deal up in the hope of a) getting top 10-15% grades that you'll need in order to get noticed by biglaw at a T50 school and b) having the biglaw firm that notices you then sponsor you for a visa. Just my 2 cents...

Renzo
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby Renzo » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:17 pm

Sup Kid wrote:This doesn't apply to me, but I have constantly read that law students that need an employer to sponsor them for an H1B visa had a significantly harder time gaining employment due to the added expense and procedures that are required. Basically, ITE, there is such a surplus of eligible employees that biglaw firms are unwilling to go the extra step to deal with the visa issues, especially for a student from a T50 school, when there are plenty of other, qualified students to choose from. I would say stick with the debt-free education and current employment -- once you get your degree you'll be able to see what options are available to you. I wouldn't give that deal up in the hope of a) getting top 10-15% grades that you'll need in order to get noticed by biglaw at a T50 school and b) having the biglaw firm that notices you then sponsor you for a visa. Just my 2 cents...


I agree with all of this.

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:06 pm

pippo8848 wrote:Although a job that requires both the technical skills and the legal skills is not guaranteed, I'm positive that a position like that would be available for me given time.

My first instinct is to ask whether this is actually true. If it's not, that makes your in-house to biglaw question irrelevant. You've been told by their legal department that if you get a JD, you'll absolutely get an in-house position after you graduate? What makes you "positive" that you'll get an in-house spot after graduating from a T1 as opposed to some Harvard graduate from Cravath?

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JazzOne
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby JazzOne » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:11 pm

FlightoftheEarls wrote:
pippo8848 wrote:Although a job that requires both the technical skills and the legal skills is not guaranteed, I'm positive that a position like that would be available for me given time.

My first instinct is to ask whether this is actually true. If it's not, that makes your in-house to biglaw question irrelevant. You've been told by their legal department that if you get a JD, you'll absolutely get an in-house position after you graduate? What makes you "positive" that you'll get an in-house spot after graduating from a T1 as opposed to some Harvard graduate from Cravath?

That's what I was thinking.

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JazzOne
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby JazzOne » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:11 pm

Sup Kid wrote:This doesn't apply to me, but I have constantly read that law students that need an employer to sponsor them for an H1B visa had a significantly harder time gaining employment due to the added expense and procedures that are required. Basically, ITE, there is such a surplus of eligible employees that biglaw firms are unwilling to go the extra step to deal with the visa issues, especially for a student from a T50 school, when there are plenty of other, qualified students to choose from. I would say stick with the debt-free education and current employment -- once you get your degree you'll be able to see what options are available to you. I wouldn't give that deal up in the hope of a) getting top 10-15% grades that you'll need in order to get noticed by biglaw at a T50 school and b) having the biglaw firm that notices you then sponsor you for a visa. Just my 2 cents...

And this

Anonymous User
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:26 pm

FlightoftheEarls wrote:
pippo8848 wrote:Although a job that requires both the technical skills and the legal skills is not guaranteed, I'm positive that a position like that would be available for me given time.

My first instinct is to ask whether this is actually true. If it's not, that makes your in-house to biglaw question irrelevant. You've been told by their legal department that if you get a JD, you'll absolutely get an in-house position after you graduate? What makes you "positive" that you'll get an in-house spot after graduating from a T1 as opposed to some Harvard graduate from Cravath?


Since he's a chemist, I'm guessing that the position would be in the patent group. Most in-house patent positions deal with patent prosecution. They wouldn't even look at some Harvard graduate from Cravath because that firm doesn't have anyone who works in patent prosecution.

Industry experience is extremely valuable in patent prosecution, much more so than law school or firm name.

Anonymous User
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:02 pm

Have somewhat similar question in line w/ this thread. I'm a 2L at CLS/NYU w/out a job, but am looking at some in house positions at some corporations, like ESPN and Pepsi etc, and curious if anyone knows if people are able to transfer from doing a summer stint at those to Big Law at 3L OCI, since doubt these places give many offers. A lot of these in house places don't seem to hire much from T14 schools, so not sure how this all translates career wise. Thanks.

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nealric
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby nealric » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:09 pm

If you can, it makes much more sense to go part time and have your employer sponsor you.

While it's rare to go from in-house to biglaw (it's usually the other way around), the key is getting biglaw-relevant experience if biglaw is where you want to be. I would imagine that you would get that experience if you are at a large company.

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:
pippo8848 wrote:Although a job that requires both the technical skills and the legal skills is not guaranteed, I'm positive that a position like that would be available for me given time.

My first instinct is to ask whether this is actually true. If it's not, that makes your in-house to biglaw question irrelevant. You've been told by their legal department that if you get a JD, you'll absolutely get an in-house position after you graduate? What makes you "positive" that you'll get an in-house spot after graduating from a T1 as opposed to some Harvard graduate from Cravath?


Since he's a chemist, I'm guessing that the position would be in the patent group. Most in-house patent positions deal with patent prosecution. They wouldn't even look at some Harvard graduate from Cravath because that firm doesn't have anyone who works in patent prosecution.

Industry experience is extremely valuable in patent prosecution, much more so than law school or firm name.

Ok . . . thanks? My point really had nothing to do with Cravath. Substitute Fitzpatrick/WSGR/Fish or whatever firm you want. I'm asking how confident OP is that the firm is going to hire him after he graduates from a T1 when they could take a T10 graduate from a top-notch patent prosecution practice who also has industry experience. If it's a large corporation like OP suggests, I wouldn't be surprised if they would rather take top talent from a reputable firm as opposed to training some newly-graduated, former entry-level researcher. Hence the reason why I'm asking how confident he is that he'll get a position post-graduation. Is that an offer that might not be there if, for example, a particular individual he knows in the legal department moves to a different company?

laborday
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby laborday » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:49 pm

pippo8848 wrote:I graduated from college with a chemistry degree last summer, and got a job from a big corporate as a chemist. So far my work experience has been great, and luckily my employer sponsored the H1B visa for me (I'm a foreigner). However, because of my interests in law, I have decided to go to law school in 2 years.


Can anyone explain to me what does "in-house" mean? If you are working as a scientist or engineer in a big corporation, not in its legal department, are you "in-house"?

OP:
Are you a scientist working in the R&D (or other department) of a corporation or are you working in its legal department?

Jessep
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby Jessep » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:09 am

In-house to big law is not unheard of but usually very unlikely. In big law you work strictly on legal issues for a lot of clients, whereas in-house you work for one-client and do lots of non-law type work. You consider business decisions and navigate corporate hierarchies/politics. While some of these skills can transfer, you don't develop the same set of broad legal skill-set. In-house work is a mix of business and law; law firms are legal work in a stricter sense. Plus your exposure to types of legal issues will be limited because you are only working for one client. Additionally (though less important), one year of big law experience likely greatly exceeds one year of in-house experience purely based upon hours. Time does not equal quality but it is more experience.

Anonymous User
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:54 am

What about doing 2L summer in house and trying to get a firm job 3L? Understand the transition is uncommon career wise after law school, but would like to know how it plays out during law school since I may be in that position. Thanks.

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erico
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby erico » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:05 am

if you want to be in a firm after graduation, your goal should be to get a SA position with that firm 2L summer.

Anonymous User
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:37 am

erico wrote:if you want to be in a firm after graduation, your goal should be to get a SA position with that firm 2L summer.


If I could have done that I would have at Fall OCI. Firm jobs are almost non-existent, especially big law, so looking at a large range of possible summer jobs.

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vamedic03
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:What about doing 2L summer in house and trying to get a firm job 3L? Understand the transition is uncommon career wise after law school, but would like to know how it plays out during law school since I may be in that position. Thanks.


FWIW, the general consensus is that the 3L OCI big law market is far, far more difficult than 2L.

Anonymous User
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Re: from in-house to big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:11 pm

FlightoftheEarls wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:
pippo8848 wrote:Although a job that requires both the technical skills and the legal skills is not guaranteed, I'm positive that a position like that would be available for me given time.

My first instinct is to ask whether this is actually true. If it's not, that makes your in-house to biglaw question irrelevant. You've been told by their legal department that if you get a JD, you'll absolutely get an in-house position after you graduate? What makes you "positive" that you'll get an in-house spot after graduating from a T1 as opposed to some Harvard graduate from Cravath?


Since he's a chemist, I'm guessing that the position would be in the patent group. Most in-house patent positions deal with patent prosecution. They wouldn't even look at some Harvard graduate from Cravath because that firm doesn't have anyone who works in patent prosecution.

Industry experience is extremely valuable in patent prosecution, much more so than law school or firm name.

Ok . . . thanks? My point really had nothing to do with Cravath. Substitute Fitzpatrick/WSGR/Fish or whatever firm you want. I'm asking how confident OP is that the firm is going to hire him after he graduates from a T1 when they could take a T10 graduate from a top-notch patent prosecution practice who also has industry experience. If it's a large corporation like OP suggests, I wouldn't be surprised if they would rather take top talent from a reputable firm as opposed to training some newly-graduated, former entry-level researcher. Hence the reason why I'm asking how confident he is that he'll get a position post-graduation. Is that an offer that might not be there if, for example, a particular individual he knows in the legal department moves to a different company?


Standard legal recruiting logic usually goes out the window when discussing patent prosecution.

Firm name is less valuable in patent prosecution because the people are weird. A lot of them refuse to work in large firms. Patent prosecution is also essentially an individual exercise. It's not a group project. That's why there are all sorts of tiny patent prosecution firms. One of the most highly-regarded firms in patent prosecution is Blakely Sokoloff. That firm has like 75 lawyers and mainly recruits from 2nd and 3rd tier schools. Many would consider it better than those you listed based on firm reputation alone. It's also very common for someone from a small patent prosecution practice to go in-house.

School name also matters less because a huge amount of patent prosecutors have tough undergraduate majors that restrict school choice due to lower GPAs and many of them also go part-time to 2nd or 3rd tier schools. Technical pedigree is far more important than legal pedigree.

Lots of companies have technical-to-legal programs where engineers/scientists go to school part-time while working in the legal department and then transition to a full-time job. For example, Intel does this. Santa Clara, Lewis & Clark, and Suffolk have Intel people in their part-time programs. Perhaps his employer has one of those programs. I have seen people that go from in-house to firm, too.




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