Anonymous User wrote:I really like my firm. The work is grueling, but my attitude toward it all is that there's no way I should be cross-examining key witnesses this early in my career; you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. A lot of people bemoan doc review, but you've got to do it and have faith that if you do good work, you'll eventually be rewarded with more responsibility. I think a lot of juniors these days come in expecting to do depositions and trials from day one. That's not going to happen and a client would flip out if they learned that a dispositive event in their case was lead by a junior (or even a midlevel associate, for that matter).
That's not to say that I haven't had substantial responsibility. But it is just to say that I've had to do some of the work that people complain a lot about in biglaw. And it's also just to say that if you put it into perspective, your experience as an associate at a big firm will be significantly more pleasant.
I would like to learn more about this. I turned down some bigger v10s for the litigation boutique I will be at on this ground and may have to revisit this issue next summer. What do you consider getting substantial responsibility? I do not expect to take depositions from day 1, but I would like to know that I have the ability to do so, my cases allowing, within my first few years. I would also expect to be writing large portions of briefs within a year or so and arguing simple discovery motions within first few years. Having talked to associates at my firm, I do not think these are unreasonable expectations. The firm and the associates who I spoke to's attitude is that you can never learn this stuff before doing them. The client (which is probably smaller than the clients you are talking about) may be hesitant, but in the end, the associate who is super focused (and maybe nervous) about his first-ever discovery motion is going to prepare really hard and at the end of the day do a good job (especially if there is guidance from partners). And that associate is going to cost the client significantly less. Some firms are able to tell clients that this is their model and clients accept that and like the results. I understand everyone has to do document review, but I would rather do that as an incidental part of the case I am working on, rather than become a "discovery" specialist.
In my conversations with associates across many V10s, it did not seem that you could expect to take a deposition before around the 3 year mark, and it was more a matter of luck than anything else (depends if your case needs a lot of depositions that cannot be done by partners). In my understanding, only a very senior associate or probably more likely junior partner is going to be doing any trial-work. I know you can get responsibility on pro bono matters, which was also a point sold to me, but that limits your exposure to significantly less than 10% of your total hours. I mean this with all due respect, but in terms of litigation skill sets (writing a brief, arguing motions, taking depositions, defending depositions, taking depositions of expert witnesses, second chairing trials), when do you expect you or people in your class will have the opportunity to do these? What percentage of your 2800 billed hours (roughly) is document review?
Thanks for all your help. I do not mean to be snarky. I just want to know if I am misunderstanding how these major market V10s operate. Like I said, having turned down offers, I may think about revisiting next year.