How does a litigation associate become partner?

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PLATONiC
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How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby PLATONiC » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:43 am

If a litigation associate is always doing the gruntwork for the partner, how would she ever be able to generate business for the law firm? >.<

EDIT: here's a more important question for me: When it comes to "bringing in" business for the firm, what actually "counts" as business?

Hypothetical: A fifth-year litigator who specializes in field X ends up finding a client who wants litigation work to be done in field Y. If the associate still goes ahead performs some of the work and then passes along some of it to a field Y specialist, would that fifth-year associate be the person who was responsible for bringing in the business?

Case #2: The fifth-year associate networks a lot, and is contacted by a client to do litigation work in field Y instead of field X. The associate simply assigns the work to some third-year associate who specializes in field Y. Did the fifth-year associate bring in business for the law firm?
Last edited by PLATONiC on Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Tanicius
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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby Tanicius » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:53 am

PLATONiC wrote:If a litigation associate is always doing the gruntwork for the partner, how would she ever be able to generate business for the law firm? >.<


Well, you're gradually allowed to do more and more over the years leading up.

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PLATONiC
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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby PLATONiC » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:03 am

Tanicius wrote:
PLATONiC wrote:If a litigation associate is always doing the gruntwork for the partner, how would she ever be able to generate business for the law firm? >.<


Well, you're gradually allowed to do more and more over the years leading up.


My assumption is that when it comes to transactional work, you pretty much get to create papers for your clients and can have the client return to you for more work in the future.

But in litigation, I suppose you could sit through some depositions with the leading partner of the case, but you can't really be the one who takes any credit for the work. I'm aware that I'm making a sleu of assumptions here, so I don't mind being barked at. I just want to do what a litigation associate does in order to make partner.

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Tanicius
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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby Tanicius » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:08 am

PLATONiC wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
PLATONiC wrote:If a litigation associate is always doing the gruntwork for the partner, how would she ever be able to generate business for the law firm? >.<


Well, you're gradually allowed to do more and more over the years leading up.


My assumption is that when it comes to transactional work, you pretty much get to create papers for your clients and can have the client return to you for more work in the future.

But in litigation, I suppose you could sit through some depositions with the leading partner of the case, but you can't really be the one who takes any credit for the work. I'm aware that I'm making a sleu of assumptions here, so I don't mind being barked at. I just want to do what a litigation associate does in order to make partner.


Over time you're allowed to participate in depositions, lead them, show up in court, maybe eventually do actual trials, but it depends on the firm, the number of associates, and the number of clients and the money they're spending.

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PLATONiC
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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby PLATONiC » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:27 am

Tanicius wrote:Over time you're allowed to participate in depositions, lead them, show up in court, maybe eventually do actual trials, but it depends on the firm, the number of associates, and the number of clients and the money they're spending.


Well I'm assuming that the firm does NOT allow mid-level associates to do actual trials. Sorry for making the question a bit harder.

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Tanicius
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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby Tanicius » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:38 am

PLATONiC wrote:
Tanicius wrote:Over time you're allowed to participate in depositions, lead them, show up in court, maybe eventually do actual trials, but it depends on the firm, the number of associates, and the number of clients and the money they're spending.


Well I'm assuming that the firm does NOT allow mid-level associates to do actual trials. Sorry for making the question a bit harder.



You don't have to lead a trial to still be worth something towards a trial's success. Lots of stuff goes into a big corporate trial: research, discovery, actual court appearances, etc. You have to remember though that most of the money in corporate lit doesn't come from trial. Settling has been the trend for a long time now.

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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby Omerta » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:24 pm

PLATONiC wrote:If a litigation associate is always doing the gruntwork for the partner, how would she ever be able to generate business for the law firm? >.<

EDIT: here's a more important question for me: When it comes to "bringing in" business for the firm, what actually "counts" as business?

Hypothetical: A fifth-year litigator who specializes in field X ends up finding a client who wants litigation work to be done in field Y. If the associate still goes ahead performs some of the work and then passes along some of it to a field Y specialist, would that fifth-year associate be the person who was responsible for bringing in the business?

Case #2: The fifth-year associate networks a lot, and is contacted by a client to do litigation work in field Y instead of field X. The associate simply assigns the work to some third-year associate who specializes in field Y. Did the fifth-year associate bring in business for the law firm?


I had lunch over at a V50 firm the other day and asked pretty much the exact question. The answer I was told was most of your clients (at that level) are Fortune 500 companies, so really you're trying to get a bigger percentage of the cases that they have to deal with in a given area. Ex. Pfizer has a bunch of PL cases, you speak to in-house and try to get a bigger share of the existing caseload they have. If you can bring in a new client, that's stupendous. However, there aren't too many organizations that can stomach the billing at larger firms anyway. If you have someone with an issue that's not worth the firm's while, then send it downstream and collect 10% finder's fee.

Both situations would be looked very highly upon. Even if you bring in business that goes to another practice group, they remember that. Obviously, bringing work to your group would be ideal, but a billable hour in one group is as good as any in the firm's eyes. When you have indirect contributions, you have to hope the partner handling it acknowledges your effort and business. Hope that helps.

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PLATONiC
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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby PLATONiC » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:31 pm

Omerta wrote:I had lunch over at a V50 firm the other day and asked pretty much the exact question. The answer I was told was most of your clients (at that level) are Fortune 500 companies, so really you're trying to get a bigger percentage of the cases that they have to deal with in a given area. Ex. Pfizer has a bunch of PL cases, you speak to in-house and try to get a bigger share of the existing caseload they have. If you can bring in a new client, that's stupendous. However, there aren't too many organizations that can stomach the billing at larger firms anyway. If you have someone with an issue that's not worth the firm's while, then send it downstream and collect 10% finder's fee.

Both situations would be looked very highly upon. Even if you bring in business that goes to another practice group, they remember that. Obviously, bringing work to your group would be ideal, but a billable hour in one group is as good as any in the firm's eyes. When you have indirect contributions, you have to hope the partner handling it acknowledges your effort and business. Hope that helps.


Wow:D Thanks.

I noticed that joining professional associations/societies that relate to practice area X would help bring in smaller clients that are largely unsuitable for biglaw firms. Do you know, by any chance, how associates even manage to get these deals from Fortune 500-1000 companies? Do associates "cold call"?

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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby MrAnon » Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:36 am

Hypothetical: A fifth-year litigator who specializes in field X ends up finding a client who wants litigation work to be done in field Y. If the associate still goes ahead performs some of the work and then passes along some of it to a field Y specialist, would that fifth-year associate be the person who was responsible for bringing in the business?

Case #2: The fifth-year associate networks a lot, and is contacted by a client to do litigation work in field Y instead of field X. The associate simply assigns the work to some third-year associate who specializes in field Y. Did the fifth-year associate bring in business for the law firm?


Case 1. In biglaw a partner would get oversight of the case. The associate would get credit for his contact and some percentage of the fees. Maybe 10-20%.

Case 2. In biglaw a partner would get oversight of the case. The associate would get credit for his contact and some percentage of the fees. Maybe 10-20%.

None of this happens very often in practice. Partners have most of the clients locked up. I mean, if you were a business owner, chances are you already have counsel, and you reach out to the partner at that firm, who refers you to another partner if the issue is not within his specialty. Why on earth would you as a business owner contact someone who graduated law school 5 years ago to handle million dollar litigation or an important deal. If you are a new business owner, just breaking into your field, well then you probably dont have enough money for biglaw.

The majority of 8th year associates who become partners do so without bringing in any business. They become service partners. Once they've been partner long enough then they might inherit the business of an institutional client from a retiring partner and therefore become the relationship partner on that client. They are no longer service partners. If you happen to bring in business of your own then you are a superstar. They are not service partners.

Omerta
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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby Omerta » Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:49 am

PLATONiC wrote:
Omerta wrote:I had lunch over at a V50 firm the other day and asked pretty much the exact question. The answer I was told was most of your clients (at that level) are Fortune 500 companies, so really you're trying to get a bigger percentage of the cases that they have to deal with in a given area. Ex. Pfizer has a bunch of PL cases, you speak to in-house and try to get a bigger share of the existing caseload they have. If you can bring in a new client, that's stupendous. However, there aren't too many organizations that can stomach the billing at larger firms anyway. If you have someone with an issue that's not worth the firm's while, then send it downstream and collect 10% finder's fee.

Both situations would be looked very highly upon. Even if you bring in business that goes to another practice group, they remember that. Obviously, bringing work to your group would be ideal, but a billable hour in one group is as good as any in the firm's eyes. When you have indirect contributions, you have to hope the partner handling it acknowledges your effort and business. Hope that helps.


Wow:D Thanks.

I noticed that joining professional associations/societies that relate to practice area X would help bring in smaller clients that are largely unsuitable for biglaw firms. Do you know, by any chance, how associates even manage to get these deals from Fortune 500-1000 companies? Do associates "cold call"?

First of all, you're a 0L. Focus on (1) getting into a good school (2) getting good grades/LR (3) getting a job before you start thinking about associate --> partner.

Second, I have no idea what you're saying. Clients "largely unsuitable" for biglaw firms are referred to not-biglaw firms for a percentage of legal fees collected. Wtf is the deal that you're talking about? Litigation work at non-biglaw firms? Idk, more putting yourself out there. You make yourself visible and keep in contact with other attorneys so they refer you work and new clients are aware of your market presence. Cold calling would be retarded: "hey, do you have a legal problem sitting around that happens to need work?"

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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby EdmundBurke23 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:45 am

Omerta wrote:
First of all, you're a 0L. Focus on (1) getting into a good school (2) getting good grades/LR (3) getting a job before you start thinking about associate --> partner.

Second, I have no idea what you're saying. Clients "largely unsuitable" for biglaw firms are referred to not-biglaw firms for a percentage of legal fees collected. Wtf is the deal that you're talking about? Litigation work at non-biglaw firms? Idk, more putting yourself out there. You make yourself visible and keep in contact with other attorneys so they refer you work and new clients are aware of your market presence. Cold calling would be retarded: "hey, do you have a legal problem sitting around that happens to need work?"


Thank you for sharing, lol. I have reasons to worry about this since it'll be a 200k investment in law school.

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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby EdmundBurke23 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:48 am

MrAnon wrote:The majority of 8th year associates who become partners do so without bringing in any business. They become service partners. Once they've been partner long enough then they might inherit the business of an institutional client from a retiring partner and therefore become the relationship partner on that client. They are no longer service partners. If you happen to bring in business of your own then you are a superstar. They are not service partners.


Thanks for this comment. I've been reading so many articles about "bringing in business" in order to make partner, that without it, it would be impossible.

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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby Sup Kid » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:05 am

EdmundBurke23 wrote:I have reasons to worry about this since it'll be a 200k investment in law school.

Partnership prospects 11-13 years from now is not a good reason to go to law school. Specifically, if this is the main reason why you are going to law school, you should not go. The chances of making partner at Biglaw are almost nil, and should not be part of your decision-making process. Just in terms of numbers, roughly 33% of students at top schools (I'm assuming you're going to one to justify 200k in loans) get Biglaw, and of those, ~5% make partner (on the high side). That means your odds right now of getting to that level are, at best, around 1.5%. Betting that much money, at those odds, is a bad bet, no matter how you spin it.

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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby EdmundBurke23 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:10 am

Sup Kid wrote:
EdmundBurke23 wrote:I have reasons to worry about this since it'll be a 200k investment in law school.

Partnership prospects 11-13 years from now is not a good reason to go to law school. Specifically, if this is the main reason why you are going to law school, you should not go. The chances of making partner at Biglaw are almost nil, and should not be part of your decision-making process. Just in terms of numbers, roughly 33% of students at top schools (I'm assuming you're going to one to justify 200k in loans) get Biglaw, and of those, ~5% make partner (on the high side). That means your odds right now of getting to that level are, at best, around 1.5%. Betting that much money, at those odds, is a bad bet, no matter how you spin it.


Do you know how a litigation associate becomes partner?

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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:31 am

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby RVP11 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:00 pm

You don't have to actually bring in business to be made a partner. You probably have to show you have the potential to do so, though.

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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:26 pm

Sup Kid wrote:
EdmundBurke23 wrote:I have reasons to worry about this since it'll be a 200k investment in law school.

Partnership prospects 11-13 years from now is not a good reason to go to law school. Specifically, if this is the main reason why you are going to law school, you should not go. The chances of making partner at Biglaw are almost nil, and should not be part of your decision-making process. Just in terms of numbers, roughly 33% of students at top schools (I'm assuming you're going to one to justify 200k in loans) get Biglaw, and of those, ~5% make partner (on the high side). That means your odds right now of getting to that level are, at best, around 1.5%. Betting that much money, at those odds, is a bad bet, no matter how you spin it.


No it isn't. Making partner is part of the equation and if it is financially worth it without making partner then the possibility of making partner can't hurt. I can see it making some difference for someone deciding to take on debt at a t14 or for free or cheap at their state school.

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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby Sup Kid » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:05 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
Sup Kid wrote:
EdmundBurke23 wrote:I have reasons to worry about this since it'll be a 200k investment in law school.

Partnership prospects 11-13 years from now is not a good reason to go to law school. Specifically, if this is the main reason why you are going to law school, you should not go. The chances of making partner at Biglaw are almost nil, and should not be part of your decision-making process. Just in terms of numbers, roughly 33% of students at top schools (I'm assuming you're going to one to justify 200k in loans) get Biglaw, and of those, ~5% make partner (on the high side). That means your odds right now of getting to that level are, at best, around 1.5%. Betting that much money, at those odds, is a bad bet, no matter how you spin it.


No it isn't. Making partner is part of the equation and if it is financially worth it without making partner then the possibility of making partner can't hurt. I can see it making some difference for someone deciding to take on debt at a t14 or for free or cheap at their state school.

Read the whole post, specifically the part that says "if this is the main reason why you are going to law school..." Sure, its part of the equation, but too many people turn down a free ride and take out 200k in loans believing that they can easily work in Biglaw for life. I was just using the statistics to point out that's not a feasible plan.

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Verity
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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby Verity » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:09 pm

How did the partner that the lit. assoc. works for become a partner?


Which came first?




What an existential thread...

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:41 pm

ITT, a bunch of law students give each other advice about how to become partners at biglaw firms.

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EdmundBurke23
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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby EdmundBurke23 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:01 pm

Sup Kid wrote:
EdmundBurke23 wrote:I have reasons to worry about this since it'll be a 200k investment in law school.

Partnership prospects 11-13 years from now is not a good reason to go to law school. Specifically, if this is the main reason why you are going to law school, you should not go. The chances of making partner at Biglaw are almost nil, and should not be part of your decision-making process. Just in terms of numbers, roughly 33% of students at top schools (I'm assuming you're going to one to justify 200k in loans) get Biglaw, and of those, ~5% make partner (on the high side). That means your odds right now of getting to that level are, at best, around 1.5%. Betting that much money, at those odds, is a bad bet, no matter how you spin it.


Isn't the number about 50% for top law schools? (T13).

Sup Kid
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Re: How does a litigation associate become partner?

Postby Sup Kid » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:09 pm

EdmundBurke23 wrote:
Sup Kid wrote:
EdmundBurke23 wrote:I have reasons to worry about this since it'll be a 200k investment in law school.

Partnership prospects 11-13 years from now is not a good reason to go to law school. Specifically, if this is the main reason why you are going to law school, you should not go. The chances of making partner at Biglaw are almost nil, and should not be part of your decision-making process. Just in terms of numbers, roughly 33% of students at top schools (I'm assuming you're going to one to justify 200k in loans) get Biglaw, and of those, ~5% make partner (on the high side). That means your odds right now of getting to that level are, at best, around 1.5%. Betting that much money, at those odds, is a bad bet, no matter how you spin it.


Isn't the number about 50% for top law schools? (T13).

Regardless, that only changes the final percentage to 2.5%. I'm not saying don't go to law school, rather, I'm just saying to go in knowing all the facts. The fact that you may make partnership in the future should not be a significant factor in determining whether to make a $200,000 investment.




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