What should I do?

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Anonymous User
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What should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:40 pm

I'm a rising 2L somewhere in the top 30% at a lower ranked T14. Even ITE, a majority of people in my position have been able to land biglaw through OCI. When I graduate, I'll have somewhere around 90-100k in debt, all federal, no private. However, I don't want a *career* in biglaw, or in any firm, for that matter. I really want to go solo after a few years. That was my dream going into school, and it's only grown stronger since I've been here. Particular interest in criminal defense, but also interested in employment/labor (plaintiff side) and (don't laugh) personal injury.

If I'm fortunate enough to get a biglaw offer through OCI for summer 2L, should I take it? Or should I instead try and get a job at a midsized firm or prosecutors office?

Pros to biglaw:
Pay off my debt. Save lots of start up capital. Have biglaw on my resume in case solo firm fails.
Cons to biglaw: Terrified that I won't *learn* anything worthwhile to starting my own firm. If I spend 3 years in a biglaw firm just basically doing discovery and maybe drafting an occasional motion, it won't help me when it comes time to take a case from beginning to end. This is the biggest negative to biglaw in my mind. Hopefully someone can dispel it.

Pros to prosecutor/PD/small firm: Serious experience. Knowledge of how to do everything in a case, from filing the complaint (or handling the arraignment) through trial. Contacts and networking in the field. Starting a crim firm after prosecuting or defending cases for three or four years means I'd probably have some good referral sources.
Cons to this: Less $. Would probably have to start my firm with less start up capital, but more experience. Also, at least as I understand it, most PDs and DAs don't hire directly from their 2L summer class; instead, you need to apply after graduation. Graduating without any job is a big risk if you can avoid it.

My dream option would be to somehow land a job at a small to midsized firm that handles criminal defense or employment/labor law. I'd probably get a good mix of experience with a salary at least somewhat better than working as a prosecutor or PD. However, this seems like it only happens by sheer luck. I don't think many midsized firms like this have summer programs that they hire from in a fashion like biglaw.

Sorry for the long-winded post, but I need some serious guidance. Thanks for the help.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BeenDidThat
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Re: What should I do?

Postby BeenDidThat » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:42 pm

One avenue you may not have thought of (or maybe you did, and didn't want to go that route):

Biglaw 2-3 years --> DA/PD office 2-3 years --> private practice crim defense.
$$$$$ --> Experience --> Dream

Anonymous User
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Re: What should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:45 pm

BeenDidThat wrote:One avenue you may not have thought of (or maybe you did, and didn't want to go that route):

Biglaw 2-3 years --> DA/PD office 2-3 years --> private practice crim defense.
$$$$$ --> Experience --> Dream


OP here. That would be awesome, pretty difficult to pull off, I think. I think most DA/PD offices, especially in large metros, hire almost entirely fresh grads.

stylishlaw
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Re: What should I do?

Postby stylishlaw » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:46 pm

If I were in your shoes I would take a BigLaw job and pay off my debt before looking for something else. It's much easier to go the BigLaw --> prosecutor/PD/small firm route as opposed to the prosecutor/PD/small firm --> BigLaw route. Also I think you're underestimating how bad the debt is. If you go prosecutor/PD/small firm right out of law school when you had the option of BigLaw, I'm willing to bet that after your first loan check you'll be wishing you took the BigLaw route.

smittytron3k
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Re: What should I do?

Postby smittytron3k » Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:00 pm

A couple of suggestions:

(1) If you're seriously interested in employment/labor law, there's a ton of midsized, more boutique firms that focus on that practice. Take a look at places like Littler Mendelson, etc.
(2) You should probably still go for Biglaw, but spend some time figuring out which firms have reputations for strong associate development and mentorship. I don't get the sense that you care a ton about prestige or making partner, so picking the best Vault firm or the firm with the highest PPP is not going to help you much. I'd talk to OCS and also look at places that are not quite as highly leveraged.

protip
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Re: What should I do?

Postby protip » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:43 am

Take your talents to south beach.

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GeePee
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Re: What should I do?

Postby GeePee » Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:17 am

smittytron3k wrote:A couple of suggestions:

(1) If you're seriously interested in employment/labor law, there's a ton of midsized, more boutique firms that focus on that practice. Take a look at places like Littler Mendelson, etc.
(2) You should probably still go for Biglaw, but spend some time figuring out which firms have reputations for strong associate development and mentorship. I don't get the sense that you care a ton about prestige or making partner, so picking the best Vault firm or the firm with the highest PPP is not going to help you much. I'd talk to OCS and also look at places that are not quite as highly leveraged.

Even some bigger firms have Employment/ERISA practices -- they have the potential to be very valuable and good lawyers are always in demand. If this is your interest, then go for it.

Otherwise, you might be able to do white collar criminal defense at a firm, which should make the jump to PD/DA/AUSA a bit easier to sell.

Anonymous User
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Re: What should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:22 am

OP here. Thank you for the helpful replies, everyone. You're definitely correct that I don't care about prestige, vault ranking, or exit options. What firms, outside of the ones I clearly have no shot at (like WC), have the biggest white collar practices?

Also, other than NALP's directory site, is there a place that has good information on firms?

Thanks.

Renzo
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Re: What should I do?

Postby Renzo » Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thank you for the helpful replies, everyone. You're definitely correct that I don't care about prestige, vault ranking, or exit options. What firms, outside of the ones I clearly have no shot at (like WC), have the biggest white collar practices?

Also, other than NALP's directory site, is there a place that has good information on firms?

Thanks.


You do care about exit options. That's what you're asking: "how do I position myself to have the best options to exit into L&E or crim defense solo practice?"

The answer is go to a firm that does the kind of work you want to do, so that you learn how to do it. Your OCS counselors should be able to help you identify such firms; other good sources are Chambers & Partners and Martindale Hubble.

Aston2412
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Re: What should I do?

Postby Aston2412 » Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:19 am

If you want to do criminal defense doesn't the PD route offer loan forgiveness?

krishna_das
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Re: What should I do?

Postby krishna_das » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:28 pm

smittytron3k wrote:A couple of suggestions:

(1) If you're seriously interested in employment/labor law, there's a ton of midsized, more boutique firms that focus on that practice. Take a look at places like Littler Mendelson, etc.
(2) You should probably still go for Biglaw, but spend some time figuring out which firms have reputations for strong associate development and mentorship. I don't get the sense that you care a ton about prestige or making partner, so picking the best Vault firm or the firm with the highest PPP is not going to help you much. I'd talk to OCS and also look at places that are not quite as highly leveraged.


To be sure, there is nothing "midsized" about Littler Mendelson. It is huge--largest L & E law firm in the country.

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Grizz
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Re: What should I do?

Postby Grizz » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:27 pm

BeenDidThat wrote:One avenue you may not have thought of (or maybe you did, and didn't want to go that route):

Biglaw 2-3 years --> DA/PD office 2-3 years --> private practice crim defense.
$$$$$ --> Experience --> Dream

Basically no one does big firm -> DA/PD. You'll raise some eyebrows. The work you do at a large firm won't resemble DA/PD work basically at all.

Plus there's no way you're gonna want to take the $70k+ pay cut with family, girlfriend, etc. when you've gotten used to the lifestyle.

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Grizz
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Re: What should I do?

Postby Grizz » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:29 pm

OP, you see yourself doing any plaintiff's work besides L&E and PI?
Last edited by Grizz on Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

c3pO4
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Re: What should I do?

Postby c3pO4 » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:31 pm

You are too late to do anything but accept your Biglaw offer. Maybe try a more specialized firm for 3LOLCI. Once you start working, just get out as quick as you can/want.

keg411
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Re: What should I do?

Postby keg411 » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:20 pm

c3pO4 wrote:You are too late to do anything but accept your Biglaw offer. Maybe try a more specialized firm for 3LOLCI. Once you start working, just get out as quick as you can/want.


Take a look at the original post date. OP probably made up his or her mind months ago.

c3pO4
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Re: What should I do?

Postby c3pO4 » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:21 pm

keg411 wrote:
c3pO4 wrote:You are too late to do anything but accept your Biglaw offer. Maybe try a more specialized firm for 3LOLCI. Once you start working, just get out as quick as you can/want.


Take a look at the original post date. OP probably made up his or her mind months ago.


lol nice. pwnd




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