Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

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3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:
pereira6 wrote:I read about 80% of what was in both threads, and I'll echo the thanks by the other posters.

Sorry if I missed the answers to these questions:

Did you have work experience before your current job? If so, how much did it help land you the job? For those without work experience (read: me), what can they do to make up for it besides grades?

Also, what was your undergrad major? Did it help you with your writing skills that you say are very useful now, or was law school the primary source for acquiring good writing skills?

Thanks!


How much do you think the "bio page resume lines" help the development of a biglaw career? Summa cum laude vs. magna cum laude; and two CoA clerkships vs one CoA; are my primary questions (and the reason I made this post anonymous - mods, please don't un-anon-ize me). Does the answer change depending on whether you work at a "Free market" or "Cravath-style" firm with respect to work assignments (i.e., are partners going to be more willing to give the guy with more resume lines work when s/he knocks on the partner's door on day one)? My intuition is "probably not", but I've heard mixed things.

What advice would you give to someone who was hired as a 3L/during the clerkship year for his/her first day to quickly start building relationships with people who will give him/her work? I'm concerned that I'm going to show up at the firm as an entirely unknown quantity, and that I may have a harder time shaking down work as a result.

How soon did you start feeling pressure to specialize? How long is it possible to avoid specialization without having a negative impact on your ability to get work/career prospects? Do you think holding off and being more of a generalist makes it easier to land an in-house gig, but more difficult to make partner?

Are you trying to make partner?

Do you think trying to write/publish articles during a clerkship year will be beneficial from a career standpoint?

Do you think publishing shorter pieces/client notices/blogs helps people drum up business, or at least improve their visibility?

Since you're in Chicago - do you know anyone who works at Bartlit Beck? Is it really all it's cracked up to be?


Bio page lines such as summa v. magna or COA clerkship count will help in a Biglaw firm but marginally. Most partners don't really care between those distinctions. There are partners that won't staff associates who graduated from lower tier schools (I know it seems silly once you're all in the same firm, but trust me, I've seen it happen), but I don't really think they'd say "Oh that associate only had a single COA clerkship instead of 2" However, it may make it marginally easier to be staffed on a case. I don't know if it would change in the different style firms.

My advice is not to sweat it, a lot of people come in off those situations and are a little slow to start, and it's very natural. They'll get you staffed and working and once you get your first assignment, it's all about work product at that point.

Around your 3rd year is when they start asking about specialization here, and whether or not it's a good thing for in-house totally depends on what you want your specialization to be and what type of in-house position you want. It could go either way depending. I think specializing helps your track to partner because you work closer with a group of partners and you need people willing to go to bat for you when you're up. Being too much of a generalist may not give you that same group.

I'm still on partner track doing the partner track things.

If you have time to do it, write/publish, it can't hurt.

Maybe marginally, but it's only if you start to be recognized in a field. However, if you want to go into academia eventually it will be very helpful. I feel like you have that in the back of your mind (maybe I'm wrong) if that's the case, write and publish as much as possible.

Yes and yes.

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clintonius
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby clintonius » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:54 am

3rdYrLitigator wrote:
AlanShoreDisciple wrote:As someone who wishes to go into litigation and is curious about big law, I just have to ask: If you had to do it over again would you choose law as a career? and would you still stick with working in biglaw?


That's a tough question, I think I would choose law as a career and I'd stick with biglaw, but I don't think I'm set on being in Biglaw for my entire career. I could see myself moving in house in a few years.

Assuming that you've done some looking into this already -- what sorts of in-house opportunities exist for Biglaw litigators? Litigation interests me more than transactional, so far as I know, but I was under the impression that doing lit severely limited your eligibility for in-house work.

Thanks for answering questions! It's been really helpful.

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thecilent
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby thecilent » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:05 am

What makes good work product? Is it how well you can research and write?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273387
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:36 am

3rdYrLitigator wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
pereira6 wrote:I read about 80% of what was in both threads, and I'll echo the thanks by the other posters.

Sorry if I missed the answers to these questions:

Did you have work experience before your current job? If so, how much did it help land you the job? For those without work experience (read: me), what can they do to make up for it besides grades?

Also, what was your undergrad major? Did it help you with your writing skills that you say are very useful now, or was law school the primary source for acquiring good writing skills?

Thanks!


How much do you think the "bio page resume lines" help the development of a biglaw career? Summa cum laude vs. magna cum laude; and two CoA clerkships vs one CoA; are my primary questions (and the reason I made this post anonymous - mods, please don't un-anon-ize me). Does the answer change depending on whether you work at a "Free market" or "Cravath-style" firm with respect to work assignments (i.e., are partners going to be more willing to give the guy with more resume lines work when s/he knocks on the partner's door on day one)? My intuition is "probably not", but I've heard mixed things.

What advice would you give to someone who was hired as a 3L/during the clerkship year for his/her first day to quickly start building relationships with people who will give him/her work? I'm concerned that I'm going to show up at the firm as an entirely unknown quantity, and that I may have a harder time shaking down work as a result.

How soon did you start feeling pressure to specialize? How long is it possible to avoid specialization without having a negative impact on your ability to get work/career prospects? Do you think holding off and being more of a generalist makes it easier to land an in-house gig, but more difficult to make partner?

Are you trying to make partner?

Do you think trying to write/publish articles during a clerkship year will be beneficial from a career standpoint?

Do you think publishing shorter pieces/client notices/blogs helps people drum up business, or at least improve their visibility?

Since you're in Chicago - do you know anyone who works at Bartlit Beck? Is it really all it's cracked up to be?


Bio page lines such as summa v. magna or COA clerkship count will help in a Biglaw firm but marginally. Most partners don't really care between those distinctions. There are partners that won't staff associates who graduated from lower tier schools (I know it seems silly once you're all in the same firm, but trust me, I've seen it happen), but I don't really think they'd say "Oh that associate only had a single COA clerkship instead of 2" However, it may make it marginally easier to be staffed on a case. I don't know if it would change in the different style firms.

My advice is not to sweat it, a lot of people come in off those situations and are a little slow to start, and it's very natural. They'll get you staffed and working and once you get your first assignment, it's all about work product at that point.

Around your 3rd year is when they start asking about specialization here, and whether or not it's a good thing for in-house totally depends on what you want your specialization to be and what type of in-house position you want. It could go either way depending. I think specializing helps your track to partner because you work closer with a group of partners and you need people willing to go to bat for you when you're up. Being too much of a generalist may not give you that same group.

I'm still on partner track doing the partner track things.

If you have time to do it, write/publish, it can't hurt.

Maybe marginally, but it's only if you start to be recognized in a field. However, if you want to go into academia eventually it will be very helpful. I feel like you have that in the back of your mind (maybe I'm wrong) if that's the case, write and publish as much as possible.

Yes and yes.


Same anon here - I actually don't have academia in my mind at all - I can't think of a fate worse than the ivory tower. The only reason I would write anything would be to improve my law firm career and possible lateral possibilities (as it stands, my goal is to make partner - I really would rather not lateral, and I don't think my practice group (bankruptcy) allows for very good lateral possibilities). Does that change your perspective on whether writing is worth it?

Can you think of any good uses for my free time during my clerkship year that will allow me to hit the ground running when I start at the firm?

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:23 am

This is fairly general, but I think it is a question that you would be very well suited to answer. I have a tattoo on my wrist that is visible when my sleeves are rolled up and even partially visible when they're not. My concern is that some of these interviewers from big law firms will look negatively at this during OCI, and even if i got through that, at the firm itself. What are your thoughts on that?

I understand this isn't too helpful to 99% of the people on this thread, but I appreciate your insight. Thanks.

rv11
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:58 am

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby rv11 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:00 pm

3rdYrLitigator wrote:I'm still on partner track doing the partner track things.


When/how did you find out that you were on the partner track? Also, what exactly are partner track things? Are you now nearly guaranteed a good shot at partner (pending any major mistakes) or are there still major hurdles to clear?

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:50 pm

clintonius wrote:
3rdYrLitigator wrote:
AlanShoreDisciple wrote:As someone who wishes to go into litigation and is curious about big law, I just have to ask: If you had to do it over again would you choose law as a career? and would you still stick with working in biglaw?


That's a tough question, I think I would choose law as a career and I'd stick with biglaw, but I don't think I'm set on being in Biglaw for my entire career. I could see myself moving in house in a few years.

Assuming that you've done some looking into this already -- what sorts of in-house opportunities exist for Biglaw litigators? Litigation interests me more than transactional, so far as I know, but I was under the impression that doing lit severely limited your eligibility for in-house work.

Thanks for answering questions! It's been really helpful.


The in-house positions are mostly for large corporations that are always in litigation. It's easier to move to a smaller company from corporate.

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:50 pm

thecilent wrote:What makes good work product? Is it how well you can research and write?


Along with how long you take, yes.

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Same anon here - I actually don't have academia in my mind at all - I can't think of a fate worse than the ivory tower. The only reason I would write anything would be to improve my law firm career and possible lateral possibilities (as it stands, my goal is to make partner - I really would rather not lateral, and I don't think my practice group (bankruptcy) allows for very good lateral possibilities). Does that change your perspective on whether writing is worth it?

Can you think of any good uses for my free time during my clerkship year that will allow me to hit the ground running when I start at the firm?


Then why do two COA clerkships? It does change it a bit, I think you can do better things with your time than legal writing, such as networking, joining various legal associations and getting leadership positions, trying to get onto the boards of non-profits that other lawyers are on, etc.

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This is fairly general, but I think it is a question that you would be very well suited to answer. I have a tattoo on my wrist that is visible when my sleeves are rolled up and even partially visible when they're not. My concern is that some of these interviewers from big law firms will look negatively at this during OCI, and even if i got through that, at the firm itself. What are your thoughts on that?

I understand this isn't too helpful to 99% of the people on this thread, but I appreciate your insight. Thanks.


I guess it depends on what it is, personally I wouldn't care (unless it was a skull and crossbones or something), but I could see some older partners thinking that they couldn't put you in front of a client. Biglaw is generally fairly conservative.

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:57 pm

rv11 wrote:
3rdYrLitigator wrote:I'm still on partner track doing the partner track things.


When/how did you find out that you were on the partner track? Also, what exactly are partner track things? Are you now nearly guaranteed a good shot at partner (pending any major mistakes) or are there still major hurdles to clear?


Most places will tell you if they know you're not on the track by the time you're a midlevel. They won't necessarily kick you out, but if you need improvement in certain areas, they'll tell you. No, I'm definitely not a lock, I've just done what someone should do by my year. What that is varies from firm to firm, so I'm not going to get into details, but most firms have some idea what a midlevel should be doing, like starting to manage younger associates, taking responsibility for sections of a case, etc. Senior associates should be able to run a large portion of the case, stuff like that. There are still major hurdles at every stage but I've met the hurdles thus far. At my firm, they definitely tell you if you're not on track at any stage.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:58 pm

How much of a GPA drop would raise eyebrows in being evaluated as an SA?[/color]

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:59 pm

3rdYrLitigator wrote:
clintonius wrote:
3rdYrLitigator wrote:
AlanShoreDisciple wrote:As someone who wishes to go into litigation and is curious about big law, I just have to ask: If you had to do it over again would you choose law as a career? and would you still stick with working in biglaw?


That's a tough question, I think I would choose law as a career and I'd stick with biglaw, but I don't think I'm set on being in Biglaw for my entire career. I could see myself moving in house in a few years.

Assuming that you've done some looking into this already -- what sorts of in-house opportunities exist for Biglaw litigators? Litigation interests me more than transactional, so far as I know, but I was under the impression that doing lit severely limited your eligibility for in-house work.

Thanks for answering questions! It's been really helpful.


The in-house positions are mostly for large corporations that are always in litigation. It's easier to move to a smaller company from corporate.


Do you receive headhunter calls for in-house positions in similar volume to your corporate colleagues? Or if you don't know, how would you rate the difficulty of moving in-house from your current position?

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How much of a GPA drop would raise eyebrows in being evaluated as an SA?[/color]


Some firms have GPA cutoffs, if you fall below that it could be pretty bad for you.

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Do you receive headhunter calls for in-house positions in similar volume to your corporate colleagues? Or if you don't know, how would you rate the difficulty of moving in-house from your current position?


I think it'd be pretty hard for me to move in house right now. I'm a mid-level litigator, only companies of a certain size would have a need for someone at my level. In a few years that will change though.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:22 pm

3rdYrLitigator wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Do you receive headhunter calls for in-house positions in similar volume to your corporate colleagues? Or if you don't know, how would you rate the difficulty of moving in-house from your current position?


I think it'd be pretty hard for me to move in house right now. I'm a mid-level litigator, only companies of a certain size would have a need for someone at my level. In a few years that will change though.


Same anon; I don't know if you mentioned what type of litigation you do specifically but are there certain sub-specialties that are more conducive to an in-house move? (I'm actually interested in IP litigation in the Bay if you happen to know anything about that specifically)

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
3rdYrLitigator wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Do you receive headhunter calls for in-house positions in similar volume to your corporate colleagues? Or if you don't know, how would you rate the difficulty of moving in-house from your current position?


I think it'd be pretty hard for me to move in house right now. I'm a mid-level litigator, only companies of a certain size would have a need for someone at my level. In a few years that will change though.


Same anon; I don't know if you mentioned what type of litigation you do specifically but are there certain sub-specialties that are more conducive to an in-house move? (I'm actually interested in IP litigation in the Bay if you happen to know anything about that specifically)


Don't know much about that specifically, but I don't think my IP friends have recruiters knocking down the door with in-house positions either.

duster
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 12:46 am

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby duster » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:12 pm

Sorry for resurrecting a dead thread, but I have a question for y'all if you don't mind. I'm seriously considering going into litigation. I'd like to be a prosecutor, but I'll probably look at firm work first because government hiring looks all dried up.

One question: do you know of guys or gals who went from firm litigation to government? How frequent is that, and how difficult is it?

Second question: how do you deal with feeling that you might be on the wrong side of the fight sometimes? Abovethelaw had a funny story about (I think it was QuinnEmmanuel) an associate who emailed the whole firm about how they could save the world with their litigation strength. But occasionally as a litigator you might want to join in with his kumbaya attitude, no?

Thanks!

Firms.ly
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:18 pm

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby Firms.ly » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:30 pm

I've seen a few friends and colleagues leave Biglaw litigation jobs for government, such as the Justice Department. More frequently, however, I've seen the reverse where people I know leave somewhere like the DOJ to work at a private law.

What do you mean by being on the wrong side of the fight? Are you talking about how we feel if we're stuck defending a cause we don't agree with morally/ethically?

duster
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 12:46 am

Re: Biglaw Associate Taking Questions

Postby duster » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:03 pm

Firms.ly wrote:I've seen a few friends and colleagues leave Biglaw litigation jobs for government, such as the Justice Department. More frequently, however, I've seen the reverse where people I know leave somewhere like the DOJ to work at a private law.

What do you mean by being on the wrong side of the fight? Are you talking about how we feel if we're stuck defending a cause we don't agree with morally/ethically?


Thank you and exactly.




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