ERISA and Other Employment Litigation

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GeePee
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ERISA and Other Employment Litigation

Postby GeePee » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:34 pm

I've been researching ERISA litigation because it involves a lot of what interests me in litigation jobs (long-term projects, strong regulatory component, complex lit issues, generally good partner/associate ratio). My research has also led me to the reality that ERISA/Employment practices at large firms are few and generally fairly small -- even the most robust practices seem to only staff about 40 attorneys, few of whom are young associates.

My questions are:
1) Are these jobs available to entry-level associates?
2) If not, which career paths generally lead to these jobs?

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thesealocust
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Re: ERISA and Other Employment Litigation

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:44 pm

Most firms don't chop up their departments to be that specific, and there is absolutely no need for a law student to try and do it. At basically any firm you'll litigate what they tell you to litigate, when they tell you to litigate it. Corporate work tends to be subdivided much more finely than litigation.

There are firms that specialize in certain narrow areas of litigation, but they tend to be the exception. Feel free to pursue them, but don't feel compelled.

Sup Kid
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:49 pm

Re: ERISA and Other Employment Litigation

Postby Sup Kid » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:46 pm

GeePee wrote:I've been researching ERISA litigation because it involves a lot of what interests me in litigation jobs (long-term projects, strong regulatory component, complex lit issues, generally good partner/associate ratio). My research has also led me to the reality that ERISA/Employment practices at large firms are few and generally fairly small -- even the most robust practices seem to only staff about 40 attorneys, few of whom are young associates.

My questions are:
1) Are these jobs available to entry-level associates?
2) If not, which career paths generally lead to these jobs?

Look at Chambers, it'll have a lot of the information you are looking for. Here's a couple links to get you started:
http://www.chambersandpartners.com/USA/Editorial/42684
http://www.chambersandpartners.com/USA/Editorial/42644

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NoleinNY
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Re: ERISA and Other Employment Litigation

Postby NoleinNY » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:47 pm

GeePee wrote:I've been researching ERISA litigation because it involves a lot of what interests me in litigation jobs (long-term projects, strong regulatory component, complex lit issues, generally good partner/associate ratio). My research has also led me to the reality that ERISA/Employment practices at large firms are few and generally fairly small -- even the most robust practices seem to only staff about 40 attorneys, few of whom are young associates.

My questions are:
1) Are these jobs available to entry-level associates?
2) If not, which career paths generally lead to these jobs?


1) Yes.

2) General lit -> specialization -> ERISA! Or, FedGov -> Private Practice

Anonymous User
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Re: ERISA and Other Employment Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:46 am

This is likely a dumb question, so don't get after me about it.

I'm confused about ERISA litigation vs. ERISA/employee benefits work. The employee benefits side seems to be tax focused and driven, while ERISA litigation seems to have little to nothing to do with tax work. Is this correct?

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TTH
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Re: ERISA and Other Employment Litigation

Postby TTH » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:12 am

I don't claim to know much about ERISA, but I would imagine you would want to take admin, whatever your school offers by way of employment law classes, etc. You'd probably start getting stuff from all over a firm's L&E group, then specializing in ERISA over time.


Warning: I hear ERISA is miserable work, though.

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smokyroom26
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Re: ERISA and Other Employment Litigation

Postby smokyroom26 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:37 pm

TTH wrote:Warning: I hear ERISA is miserable work, though.


My current employer: "No one understands ERISA or NEPA. If you do, you can make a lot of money."

My first project this summer was a huge NEPA thing, which is obviously different in substance, but from what I've gathered, similar in structure. If you like lots of digging in lots of documents, right up your alley. If not, run as fast as you can in the other direction. The administrative record for my project was right around 10,000 pages.

Edited to mention that I enjoyed the project, but I was happy to be through with it at the end.

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thesealocust
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Re: ERISA and Other Employment Litigation

Postby thesealocust » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This is likely a dumb question, so don't get after me about it.

I'm confused about ERISA litigation vs. ERISA/employee benefits work. The employee benefits side seems to be tax focused and driven, while ERISA litigation seems to have little to nothing to do with tax work. Is this correct?


That's more or less correct. Benefits work is broad - it can be merger work, disclosure work, insurance / retirement plan provier work, etc. ERISA litigation is just a narrow litigation practice.

NB that large portions of ERISA are mirrored in The Code(TM). 401(k) is in reference to section 401(k) of the internal revenue code of 1986 (as amended). So you can't really escape the tax elements of it, because what you're doing is often structuring to avoid tax liabilities. On the lit side though it could be things like fiduciary duties of plan administrators and the like.

Also, whoever said that ERISA is miserable but nobody understands it so if you do you'll be a millionaire is probably right.

Anonymous User
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Re: ERISA and Other Employment Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:35 pm

So if I am a tax nerd, I would probably look more towards the design/taxation side?

I'm spending this summer at a smallish firm that does 90% tax controversy (litigation) would I be ok to look at firms that do both design and litigation?




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