the jump to big law

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micwrecka45
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:05 pm

the jump to big law

Postby micwrecka45 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:46 am

I understand that jumping into biglaw if you miss it during OCI is rare. However, I have heard stories of it happening and a partner I talked to during an OCI callback a few years ago mentioned that she started in the DA's office and moved into the law firm, so it does happen.

So, is there a typical path for people who make the jump from small law/gov/pi into biglaw (or even midlaw)? Any thoughts TLS? Thanks.

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

Re: the jump to big law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:58 am

micwrecka45 wrote:I understand that jumping into biglaw if you miss it during OCI is rare. However, I have heard stories of it happening and a partner I talked to during an OCI callback a few years ago mentioned that she started in the DA's office and moved into the law firm, so it does happen.

So, is there a typical path for people who make the jump from small law/gov/pi into biglaw (or even midlaw)? Any thoughts TLS? Thanks.


Depends on the market. In some AUSA --> biglaw is somewhat common.

Sorry, no need for Anon, this is Veyron.

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

Re: the jump to big law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:01 am

A few different ways that I've heard.

Become a very successful prosecutor, and then you can lateral to a big firm to do their criminal defense. Usually the higher up you go on the prosecutor ladder, the higher up you can lateral. So if you are a federal prosecutor, you can possibly transfer that to a Vault firm. If you are something like a state prosecutor, then it's probably a local defense firm that you could go to. (Or maybe if you just dazzle with litigation and trial skills, a lit boutique would take you?)

Another way that I've heard is that you work at a smaller firm and build up a good size of business. Then BigLaw firm comes into your town (or is already in your town) and wants to add your clients to their firm. Instead of taking your clients from you, they just take you instead and you get to keep your clients while working at the BigLaw firm. Or maybe they ask your smaller firm to basically be bought out and be their satellite office.

I'm sure there are more ways. Those are 2 that I know off top of my head.

micwrecka45
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:05 pm

Re: the jump to big law

Postby micwrecka45 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:49 am

^ interesting. thanks veyron and anon poster.

what about more niche areas such as trust and estates, health care law, etc.? is it significantly easier to jump into the big law depts that handle these practice areas? i would imagine m&a, etc. would be next to impossible to jump into if you miss big law at OCI. if so, would significant experience in one of these areas be enough or would you need to really set yourself apart?

also as a random aside... i'm sure there are plenty of experienced attorneys who would kill for the first-year associate biglaw salary. why do biglaw firms deny experienced attorneys who are willing to enter the big law grinder as a first-year associate equivalent? is there some reason for this unquestioning adherence to the cravath model of hiring law school students? i mean if an experienced attorney is willing to put up with the abuse that first-years endure in exchange for the big law salary, wouldn't law firms get more utility from an attorney who's experienced than a fresh law school graduate? this current mentality confuses me.

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sky7
Posts: 248
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: the jump to big law

Postby sky7 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:09 am

micwrecka45 wrote:I understand that jumping into biglaw if you miss it during OCI is rare. However, I have heard stories of it happening and a partner I talked to during an OCI callback a few years ago mentioned that she started in the DA's office and moved into the law firm, so it does happen.

So, is there a typical path for people who make the jump from small law/gov/pi into biglaw (or even midlaw)? Any thoughts TLS? Thanks.


IP Boutique -> GP firm in the IP shop. Of course, the pay's roughly the same between the two, but there generally seems to be more career development at the GP firms.

Anonymous User
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Re: the jump to big law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:29 am

I know a few lawyers who began in smaller firms and worked up a specialty in a niche area, so when larger firms are looking to grow their practices in these peripheral and niche areas, they often look to specialists from smaller firms. Had my friends just dont general litigation, I doubt any big firm would have come calling.




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