Biglaw Criminal Law Jobs -- Do they exist?

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clevermoose
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Biglaw Criminal Law Jobs -- Do they exist?

Postby clevermoose » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:15 am

Hey all,

I always hear about biglaw involving contracts, tax, and other forms of law. I haven't, however, ever seen someone talking about biglaw where you do criminal law work.

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bjsesq
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Re: Biglaw Criminal Law Jobs -- Do they exist?

Postby bjsesq » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:18 am

clevermoose wrote:Hey all,

I always hear about biglaw involving contracts, tax, and other forms of law. I haven't, however, ever seen someone talking about biglaw where you do criminal law work.

Many firms have white collar practices. Pretty tough for a recent graduate to get them, from the admittedly limited information I have access to.

bikepilot
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Re: Biglaw Criminal Law Jobs -- Do they exist?

Postby bikepilot » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:22 am

Many if not most biglaw firms will have White collar and FCPA practices. Other federal regulations can impose criminal liability on individual actors as well (antitrust) and will be the type of work biglaw does. biglaw obviously won't typically be handling your usual drunk and disorderly, DUI, rape, murder type of cases (its a rare defendant in these cases that can fess up $600/hr or so that biglaw requires). There may be a biglaw firm somewhere that does personal criminal defense of these types of matters for high net worth individuals, but I don't know of one specifically. By and large prosecutors and public defenders handle the bulk of crim cases I think.

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Re: Biglaw Criminal Law Jobs -- Do they exist?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:55 pm

bjsesq wrote:Many firms have white collar practices. Pretty tough for a recent graduate to get them, from the admittedly limited information I have access to.


Depends on the firm. Firms with large white collar practices (Debevoise comes to mind) will let associates work on white collar cases, but obviously in a junior role. Typically, those that specialize in white collar are former AUSAs (or even USAs) or have other substantive experience in the area (e.g. SEC). Occasionally you'll see a BigLaw partner in white collar who rose up through the ranks, but it's pretty rare.

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bjsesq
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Re: Biglaw Criminal Law Jobs -- Do they exist?

Postby bjsesq » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
bjsesq wrote:Many firms have white collar practices. Pretty tough for a recent graduate to get them, from the admittedly limited information I have access to.


Depends on the firm. Firms with large white collar practices (Debevoise comes to mind) will let associates work on white collar cases, but obviously in a junior role. Typically, those that specialize in white collar are former AUSAs (or even USAs) or have other substantive experience in the area (e.g. SEC). Occasionally you'll see a BigLaw partner in white collar who rose up through the ranks, but it's pretty rare.

Thanks for the info.

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clevermoose
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Re: Biglaw Criminal Law Jobs -- Do they exist?

Postby clevermoose » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:31 pm

Great info thank you guys!

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vanwinkle
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Re: Biglaw Criminal Law Jobs -- Do they exist?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:41 pm

One important thing to keep in mind is what the role of a BigLaw attorney is there. You will likely not be representing clients in criminal courtrooms or playing Law & Order very much or at all. The main role of white collar work (in the BigLaw context) is to counsel clients on how to comply with the law, and if there has been a criminal act, reach an agreement with the prosecutors that benefits the client and keeps them out of court. Going to trial will be uncommon even in those cases. Even trials will be mundane things like tax evasion. The "ripped from the headlines" type things that both involve scandalous crimes and go to trial will be extremely rare.

This is especially true in the antitrust context, where from what I understand, there hasn't been an actual criminal trial in decades. The burden for criminal prosecutions is much higher, it's fairly clear how to avoid criminal liability, and willingness to agree to a civil settlement can convince the DOJ not to prosecute. The law is still there, but having civil remedies as a "carrot" and the threat of criminal charges as a "stick" induces businesses to settle whenever things even approach the realm of a criminal investigation. Your work as a defense-side antitrust lawyer would be negotiating with the DOJ to 1) agree beforehand that a practice would not be anticompetitive or 2) negotiate a solution that, at a minimum, avoids criminal charges.

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Adjudicator
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Re: Biglaw Criminal Law Jobs -- Do they exist?

Postby Adjudicator » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:44 pm

On the TV show Boston Legal, they were a big law firm, and small-time criminals and murderers were always walking in off the street and requesting legal representation. Alan Shore and name-partner Denny Crane were always going to trials to defend some random killer!

I imagine it is just like that.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Biglaw Criminal Law Jobs -- Do they exist?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:47 pm

Adjudicator wrote:On the TV show Boston Legal, they were a big law firm and small-time criminals and murderers were always walking in off the street and requesting legal representation. Alan Shore and name-partner Denny Crane were always going to trials to defend some random killer!

I imagine it is just like that.

Of course it is, especially the part where the suspect is some broke unemployed soul charged with a brutal murder but is somehow out on bail or otherwise free to go wander into a big law firm. I've seen this happen three times myself (though twice were in reruns).

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Grizz
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Re: Biglaw Criminal Law Jobs -- Do they exist?

Postby Grizz » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:48 pm

vanwinkle wrote:One important thing to keep in mind is what the role of a BigLaw attorney is there. You will likely not be representing clients in criminal courtrooms or playing Law & Order very much or at all. The main role of white collar work (in the BigLaw context) is to counsel clients on how to comply with the law, and if there has been a criminal act, reach an agreement with the prosecutors that benefits the client and keeps them out of court. Going to trial will be uncommon even in those cases. Even trials will be mundane things like tax evasion. The "ripped from the headlines" type things that both involve scandalous crimes and go to trial will be extremely rare.


This is so true. Close family member does white collar and has done which collar for decades. Can't remember the last time he went to trial on a purely white collar case.




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