Non-firm exit options for litigation associates

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
zomginternets
Posts: 547
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:59 pm

Non-firm exit options for litigation associates

Postby zomginternets » Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:47 am

What are they? I had a friend tell me that lots of in-house positions look for ex-litigation associates, especially those that get sued a lot. Can anyone confirm? What other exit options are there?

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Non-firm exit options for litigation associates

Postby Renzo » Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:57 am

Some firms do have in house litigators, but most firms don't. And for those who do, they are far fewer in number than corporate attorneys. Insurance firms are about the only industry that really keeps lots of litigators on staff, but there is tremendous cost pressure in the industry, so these jobs don't generally pay well enough to attract former biglaw litigators (and the skillset/mentality is very different, so a former biglaw attorney wouldn't be worth much to them).

Basically, if you are a litigator there are two choices: you can be in private practice (meaning a firm of some size, ranging from solo practice to biglaw), or you can work for the government (either federal, state, local).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273386
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Non-firm exit options for litigation associates

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:45 pm

Basically, if you are a litigator there are two choices: you can be in private practice (meaning a firm of some size, ranging from solo practice to biglaw), or you can work for the government (either federal, state, local).


This is overbroad. There are also PI organizations that hire litigators. And while it is certainly true that in house options pale in comparison to corporate attorneys, most large (i.e., Fortune 500 or 1000) companies will have a litigation department, though most of the work here is going to be managing outside counsel. Also, the comment about insurance companies has a nugget of truth, though at the higher in house levels (i.e., the levels that you'd lateral into as a senior associate), the pay is pretty good, and the work is hardly scut work -- these are the people who oversee class action litigation, high profile coverage matters, and big $$$ reinsurance work. But again, you'd probably need 6-8 years of big law experience to be competitive for that type of job.

I'll also note that if you can swing it with your debt load, you really can't beat government work. Lots and lots of responsibility, and lots of interesting cases, often staffed with a couple of attorneys. A lot of people think that it's all DA-type stuff, but that's really not true, at least at the state and federal levels. Plus, I cannot tell you how fun it is to punch the big firm lawyers in the nose, again and again.

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Non-firm exit options for litigation associates

Postby Renzo » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Basically, if you are a litigator there are two choices: you can be in private practice (meaning a firm of some size, ranging from solo practice to biglaw), or you can work for the government (either federal, state, local).


This is overbroad. There are also PI organizations that hire litigators. And while it is certainly true that in house options pale in comparison to corporate attorneys, most large (i.e., Fortune 500 or 1000) companies will have a litigation department, though most of the work here is going to be managing outside counsel. Also, the comment about insurance companies has a nugget of truth, though at the higher in house levels (i.e., the levels that you'd lateral into as a senior associate), the pay is pretty good, and the work is hardly scut work -- these are the people who oversee class action litigation, high profile coverage matters, and big $$$ reinsurance work. But again, you'd probably need 6-8 years of big law experience to be competitive for that type of job.

I'll also note that if you can swing it with your debt load, you really can't beat government work. Lots and lots of responsibility, and lots of interesting cases, often staffed with a couple of attorneys. A lot of people think that it's all DA-type stuff, but that's really not true, at least at the state and federal levels. Plus, I cannot tell you how fun it is to punch the big firm lawyers in the nose, again and again.


I don't think we're actually in disagreement, other than maybe about terminology. I'm not saying that in-house litigation jobs don't exist, only that they are far less abundant than corporate GC jobs, so it's not as automatic a transition as it is for a lot of corporate biglaw associates. But to be clear, it's not crazy to shoot for such a gig, and if you are at a firm that has clients with in-house litigators, you might be able to make the transition.

And yes, there are PI firms, but not very many that can afford staff counsel, and those that can (ACLU, NRDF, big unions, EFF, etc.) usually draw from the ranks of the true believers, not from former biglaw associates. There are also some good jobs in insurance companies, but I was lumping those folks into the bucket of "general counsel" jobs as opposed to more traditional insurance defense staff legal jobs.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.