why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

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anonymcoffee
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why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

Postby anonymcoffee » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:09 pm

i keep seeing people giving advice to 2L or 3L students and telling them that if they got no offers/worked for biglaw in the summer that "biglaw is out." Why is this? Could a grad student who maybe took the bar not apply to a biglaw firm? What are the limitations?

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fatduck
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Re: why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

Postby fatduck » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:10 pm

you can apply, but they won't hire you.

anonymcoffee
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Re: why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

Postby anonymcoffee » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:17 pm

fatduck wrote:you can apply, but they won't hire you.


Yeah....but why? What if your GPA improves and you get some good work experience ...can't you apply then? I don't understand why the cut off is 2L or NEVER haha

Unshake
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Re: why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

Postby Unshake » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:25 pm

I mean, you might have some sort of outside chance.

They receive so many applications, they can choose whoever they want to after 1L year. Why wait a year later when you can just pick the top students now?

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:29 pm

anonymcoffee wrote:
fatduck wrote:you can apply, but they won't hire you.


Yeah....but why? What if your GPA improves and you get some good work experience ...can't you apply then? I don't understand why the cut off is 2L or NEVER haha


1) Firms like to look at you during the summer before they hire you. Their summer programs are custom-designed to measure you against your peers and to see if you're a good enough fit in every way for the firm to hire you. In this sense, you could view it as an economy of scale issue: it would be more costly or impossible to do this type of relative analysis of your work skills versus others' if you were being compared to everyone in the entire legal market applying to biglaw jobs.

2) Firms want to train you THEIR way so you don't develop dumbass habits in other jobs that you would bring to a biglaw job.

3) People who work in non-biglaw jobs right after graduation are assumed, rightly or wrongly, to not be smart enough to have gotten biglaw in the first place. What's worse, if you quit or are laid off from a job outside of biglaw that isn't prestigious (DOJ Honors) and doesn't have a well-known deadline (fed clerkships), you're seen as damaged goods and you have to overcome biglaw firms saying: "If this person couldn't cut it in a non-prestigious shitlaw job, how could they be expected to make it in the big time?"

anonymcoffee
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Re: why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

Postby anonymcoffee » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:33 pm

oh okay I see ...this makes sense. thanks!

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:37 pm

amyLAchemist wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:People who work in non-biglaw jobs right after graduation are assumed, rightly or wrongly, to not be smart enough to have gotten biglaw in the first place. What's worse, if you quit or are laid off from a job outside of biglaw that isn't prestigious (DOJ Honors, fed clerkship, etc.), you're seen as damaged goods and you have to overcome biglaw firms saying: "If this person couldn't cut it in a non-prestigious shitlaw job, how could they be expected to make it in the big time?"


This even applies to moving from a less prestigious biglaw firm to a more prestigious one. One solution some firms have is that they will dock years on the partnership track. i.e. you were a 5th year assoc. at a V100 firm, but you come in as a 3d year assoc. at a V10.


Also, most V10s only take associate laterals who would have had the credentials to be hired as summer/new associates. Even at the partner level (and even if you have a huge book of business, graduated #1 at a T10 school, LR, clerkship, etc.) some V10s and other prestigious boutiques won't even look at you (Cravath comes to mind).

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vanwinkle
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Re: why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:00 pm

As was sort of noted, there are jobs you can get that might make BigLaw look at you. However, these jobs (DOJ, federal regulatory agencies, prominent clerkships) are as difficult to get as BigLaw, which signals you've passed an equivalent competency test somewhere else. Plus, the experience gained is usually specifically relevant and the new hires bring knowledge of how a government agency operates (e.g., an FTC antitrust agent who laterals to a firm with an antitrust practice).

In those circumstances it's possible to lateral to a firm, but given how hard those positions are to get in the first place, it's not like that's making it any easier for most of the people who didn't take BigLaw because they couldn't get it.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:40 am

vanwinkle wrote:As was sort of noted, there are jobs you can get that might make BigLaw look at you. However, these jobs (DOJ, federal regulatory agencies, prominent clerkships) are as difficult to get as BigLaw, which signals you've passed an equivalent competency test somewhere else. Plus, the experience gained is usually specifically relevant and the new hires bring knowledge of how a government agency operates (e.g., an FTC antitrust agent who laterals to a firm with an antitrust practice).

In those circumstances it's possible to lateral to a firm, but given how hard those positions are to get in the first place, it's not like that's making it any easier for most of the people who didn't take BigLaw because they couldn't get it.


Actually those positions are more difficult to get than BigLaw... It's weird because if you ever talk to alums from a few years back at the t13 schools, they'll tell you that biglaw pretty much handed out jobs and people would pick and choose what firm they wanted. Firms would sell themselves to students (not the other way around). Additionally, biglaw was something that people wanted right out of law school if they weren't competitive enough to get the other positions you listed (such as DOJ, prominent fed clerkships, etc). Based on that, it makes sense that biglaw is willing to hire people from these federal agencies and prominent clerkships because they are actually more competitive than people that biglaw was able to get right out of law school. I think the last sentence still holds true, it's just that the degree of competitiveness of the entire pool of hires from biglaw up is a lot higher than it was a few years back.

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Kohinoor
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Re: why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

Postby Kohinoor » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:41 am

anonymcoffee wrote:
fatduck wrote:you can apply, but


Yeah....but why? What if your GPA improves and you get some good work experience ...can't you apply then? I don't understand why the cut off is 2L or NEVER haha

they won't hire you.

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Wholigan
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Re: why is biglaw out after 2L/3L?

Postby Wholigan » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:17 am

I know or know of specific people who have snagged biglaw jobs later down the road in the following circumstances, in addition to the ones which have been mentioned. It is very hard/unlikely but not impossible.

1) Get substantive experience in a particularly valuable niche in a mid-sized firm, building connections along the way (as well as possibly clients who will follow you wherever you go), and then lateral. I know two people who have done this, and it seems like the average is at least 5 years of work experience.

2) Get a good clerkship, although not Article III in the region you are targeting. In some areas, certain state supreme court or appellate level judges carry some weight and may be able to get you in the door for a screening interview at least. You will probably need the type of resume that would have given you a shot in the first place, since you don't have work experience, other than the clerkship.

3) Work for prosecutor's or public defender office. Probably not the highest odds route, but I can vouch that it has happened. Best chance is obviously with a "prestigious" office. Many large firms have white collar defense practices and might take someone with real criminal experience over other candidates.




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