NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

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jkay
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby jkay » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:11 pm

reasonable_man wrote:As a rule of thumb, if the firm has less than about 25 to 30 lawyers, you have to assume that there is a possibility that you might be Scalia-reborn and still not get offered a position for no reason other than firm economics.


I am pretty sure you misspelled "Kagan" here, but as a 2L intern at an ~15-20 attorney firm who has gotten ridiculously good feedback, I strive not to insult the shit out of my colleagues--Scalia style--every time I write something. I figure that will help my chances.

But seriously, thanks for this thread, it's been enlightening.

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:37 am

keg411 wrote:Hey RM, just want to say that I'm glad you are happy with your job. :)

My question doesn't really apply to my current situation, but I'm wondering how you went about getting your internships during the semester. Was it through school, online (i.e craigslist), connections, etc.?



Thank you; me too! :)

The internship during the semester with the solo attorney was sort of lucky. I signed onto simplicity the day I decided I wanted a job. I happened to see an add that looked really interesting (small solo practice - attorney with 45 years experience seeking an intern to assist on a wide array of matters ... something along those lines. I faxed a resume in the morning and got a call in the afternoon. The paralegal (who had worked with the attorney for a few years longer than I had been alive at that point), asked me to come in for lunch and asked what kind of sandwich I liked. I went in for the interview and we all had lunch (attorney, paralegal and myself). It was a really nice and relaxed conversation. At the end, he handed me a key and asked if I could start the following Monday afternoon. I did just that and spent a year and a half learning from a brilliant attorney, a true professional and genuine good person. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned a ton about practicing law and more importantly, I learned the value of true professionalism and the beauty of winding up a long career with a reputation for excellence. As an aside, when I applied to my current firm, they took great interest my experience with this attorney and asked permission to call him. They asked him one question "what kind of a guy is he?" My old boss gave them a glowing recommendation and I'll always believe that it was his nod that put me over the top and helped seal the position with my current firm.

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:39 am

jkay wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:As a rule of thumb, if the firm has less than about 25 to 30 lawyers, you have to assume that there is a possibility that you might be Scalia-reborn and still not get offered a position for no reason other than firm economics.


I am pretty sure you misspelled "Kagan" here, but as a 2L intern at an ~15-20 attorney firm who has gotten ridiculously good feedback, I strive not to insult the shit out of my colleagues--Scalia style--every time I write something. I figure that will help my chances.

But seriously, thanks for this thread, it's been enlightening.


Make yourself an asset. Do your best to become a person that the partners (and associates) would rather have around than not have around. Go above and beyond ALL THE TIME. Take great pride in your work, pay attention to the little tiny details and proof read over and over again before handing in assignments. Keep up your hard work. I hope it translates into a job offer for you.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:41 am

reasonable_man wrote:
keg411 wrote:Hey RM, just want to say that I'm glad you are happy with your job. :)

My question doesn't really apply to my current situation, but I'm wondering how you went about getting your internships during the semester. Was it through school, online (i.e craigslist), connections, etc.?



Thank you; me too! :)

The internship during the semester with the solo attorney was sort of lucky. I signed onto simplicity the day I decided I wanted a job. I happened to see an add that looked really interesting (small solo practice - attorney with 45 years experience seeking an intern to assist on a wide array of matters ... something along those lines. I faxed a resume in the morning and got a call in the afternoon. The paralegal (who had worked with the attorney for a few years longer than I had been alive at that point), asked me to come in for lunch and asked what kind of sandwich I liked. I went in for the interview and we all had lunch (attorney, paralegal and myself). It was a really nice and relaxed conversation. At the end, he handed me a key and asked if I could start the following Monday afternoon. I did just that and spent a year and a half learning from a brilliant attorney, a true professional and genuine good person. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned a ton about practicing law and more importantly, I learned the value of true professionalism and the beauty of winding up a long career with a reputation for excellence. As an aside, when I applied to my current firm, they took great interest my experience with this attorney and asked permission to call him. They asked him one question "what kind of a guy is he?" My old boss gave them a glowing recommendation and I'll always believe that it was his nod that put me over the top and helped seal the position with my current firm.


it seems that solos are either very good or very sleazy.

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:
keg411 wrote:Hey RM, just want to say that I'm glad you are happy with your job. :)

My question doesn't really apply to my current situation, but I'm wondering how you went about getting your internships during the semester. Was it through school, online (i.e craigslist), connections, etc.?



Thank you; me too! :)

The internship during the semester with the solo attorney was sort of lucky. I signed onto simplicity the day I decided I wanted a job. I happened to see an add that looked really interesting (small solo practice - attorney with 45 years experience seeking an intern to assist on a wide array of matters ... something along those lines. I faxed a resume in the morning and got a call in the afternoon. The paralegal (who had worked with the attorney for a few years longer than I had been alive at that point), asked me to come in for lunch and asked what kind of sandwich I liked. I went in for the interview and we all had lunch (attorney, paralegal and myself). It was a really nice and relaxed conversation. At the end, he handed me a key and asked if I could start the following Monday afternoon. I did just that and spent a year and a half learning from a brilliant attorney, a true professional and genuine good person. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned a ton about practicing law and more importantly, I learned the value of true professionalism and the beauty of winding up a long career with a reputation for excellence. As an aside, when I applied to my current firm, they took great interest my experience with this attorney and asked permission to call him. They asked him one question "what kind of a guy is he?" My old boss gave them a glowing recommendation and I'll always believe that it was his nod that put me over the top and helped seal the position with my current firm.


it seems that solos are either very good or very sleazy.


Lawyers are either very good or very sleazy. There are many dysfunctional firms and many dysfunctional solos. However, dysfunctional firms tend to hide it better than dysfunctional solos. Bad firms are toxic. They radiate negativity onto young attorneys and like radiation, they are sometimes silent killers.. As a young intern or lawyer, you don't always know that your firm is a bad shop and often times good young lawyers are ruined/poisoned, unwittingly, by working for and collecting bad habits from bad attorneys. If you find yourself at a firm and get a bad feeling in your gut about what you are seeing around the office, etc. Consult someone you trust with a lot of experience and get right with the idea that you may have to jump ship sooner than later before you start to take on their bad habits and before you ruin your own reputation. The legal community is smaller than you think (even in a big city), and the last thing you want is to be "the lawyer that worked there." I've been lucky to have never worked with a dysfunctional firm. However, I've seen friends go through it and its just awful.

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Grizz
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Grizz » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:50 am

The story you told about being a rad bro is encouraging as shit.

cantabaout
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby cantabaout » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:53 am

when i was a 2L i had an opportunity to intern at a small firm - I googled the firm and once I found out what people said about it I did not even give a second thought to that particular firm.

It isn't the size that matters. a nice firm need not be a prestigious one. I would rather fight my way to a nice, reputable firm even though the path is a lot more uncertain.

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:55 am

Grizz wrote:The story you told about being a rad bro is encouraging as shit.


Meant every word of it bro. You will be much happier if you practice with true bros. And awesome bros only hire/partner up with great female attorneys. Angry women and insecure douchie guys need not apply to a lawfirm of true bros. Bros attract other bros and you will instinctively know if you have found a bro-tacular fit for yourself.

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:58 am

cantabaout wrote:when i was a 2L i had an opportunity to intern at a small firm - I googled the firm and once I found out what people said about it I did not even give a second thought to that particular firm.

It isn't the size that matters. a nice firm need not be a prestigious one. I would rather fight my way to a nice, reputable firm even though the path is a lot more uncertain.



That is a good idea and everyone should do that. Another good idea is to search out the firm on lexis/westlaw and look closely at the record of the firm. See what kind of cases they have, what kind of clients they represent and how well they do in court. If you search out a firm and they have a bunch of brutal negative opinions going against them or lots of motions/appeals where they lost on procedural grounds, etc., you know you have a lousy firm on your hands and you should not even consider working at that firm.

In your case, sounds like you made the right call.

cantabaout
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby cantabaout » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:15 am

what if sometimes the tasks (e.g. writing/research) are relatively simple (which I think any reasonably diligent person can handle) - how can one stand out?

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:09 am

cantabaout wrote:what if sometimes the tasks (e.g. writing/research) are relatively simple (which I think any reasonably diligent person can handle) - how can one stand out?



You can stand out on any assignment. First, be thorough. Be exhaustive in your research. Then, be concise in your writing and keep in mind the goal of the project. Have the relevant cases ready for the attorney to read, if they so choose. Most important - Try to anticipate where the larger assignment is going and offer to take the next step from time to time.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:16 am

so, for a short research assignment, would it be a good idea to just send your work product to the attorney who is directly "supervising" you? would it be a good idea to also forward a copy to the partner who hired you - if it is a small firm with a casual atmosphere - and if the partner is very involved in this particular case?

I know it sounds a little dumb to ask. and it depends on a number of variables...

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:so, for a short research assignment, would it be a good idea to just send your work product to the attorney who is directly "supervising" you? would it be a good idea to also forward a copy to the partner who hired you - if it is a small firm with a casual atmosphere - and if the partner is very involved in this particular case?

I know it sounds a little dumb to ask. and it depends on a number of variables...


Be careful about sending the work directly to partners, especially when it is assigned by an associate. You don't want to give the impression that you are a glory hog or that you are jumping the chain of command. You also don't want to be presumptuous. If the partner assigned a task to the associate and a part of that requires targeted research and you are enlisted for that purpose there is a good chance that the partner might not care to spend his time looking at an un-polished memo and frankly, the associate might be annoyed at you for running to the partner with an assignment that the associate issued. This is not an absolute certainty, but its a good general rule. Also keep in mind that the associate has more experience than you and might significantly improve your memo before showing it to a partner. And if he/she is a good person, you are going to get credit for that work, even though the associate proofed it for you.

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NoleinNY
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby NoleinNY » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:31 am

I'm already extering with a gov agency and working as a RA for a prof; think I need a part time law clerk gig to stay competitive (serious q)?

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:34 am

NoleinNY wrote:I'm already extering with a gov agency and working as a RA for a prof; think I need a part time law clerk gig to stay competitive (serious q)?


What year are you in? What tier is your LS? and how many hours a week do your RA and gov agency gigs eat up?

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NoleinNY
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby NoleinNY » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:02 am

reasonable_man wrote:
NoleinNY wrote:I'm already extering with a gov agency and working as a RA for a prof; think I need a part time law clerk gig to stay competitive (serious q)?


What year are you in? What tier is your LS? and how many hours a week do your RA and gov agency gigs eat up?

2L, t2. Gov agency is 16 a week. RA varies depending on what the prof wants, though he is fairly laid back. I only have one free weekday left and my externship and class schedule go from 830-6 MTWT.

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:18 am

NoleinNY wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:
NoleinNY wrote:I'm already extering with a gov agency and working as a RA for a prof; think I need a part time law clerk gig to stay competitive (serious q)?


What year are you in? What tier is your LS? and how many hours a week do your RA and gov agency gigs eat up?

2L, t2. Gov agency is 16 a week. RA varies depending on what the prof wants, though he is fairly laid back. I only have one free weekday left and my externship and class schedule go from 830-6 MTWT.


In order to be an attractive intern at a small firm, 15 to 25 hours is usually necessary. That might be a bit tight with your current commitments. That said, firm experience is invaluable and getting yourself in somewhere can only help you down the line in obtaining a full time post LS job. If you think you can swing it, it might really be worth it to try. In any event, if you are going to do it, now is the time to try. You are most desirable as a 2nd year LS for intern placement at a small firm.


I'll be arguing a motion and not in my office at all today, so if anyone has further questions, please feel free to post them and I'll have a look tonight or tomorrow. One of the best parts about a small firm - the ability to do your own thing on Court days.

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NoleinNY
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby NoleinNY » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:55 am

reasonable_man wrote:
NoleinNY wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:
NoleinNY wrote:I'm already extering with a gov agency and working as a RA for a prof; think I need a part time law clerk gig to stay competitive (serious q)?


What year are you in? What tier is your LS? and how many hours a week do your RA and gov agency gigs eat up?

2L, t2. Gov agency is 16 a week. RA varies depending on what the prof wants, though he is fairly laid back. I only have one free weekday left and my externship and class schedule go from 830-6 MTWT.


In order to be an attractive intern at a small firm, 15 to 25 hours is usually necessary. That might be a bit tight with your current commitments. That said, firm experience is invaluable and getting yourself in somewhere can only help you down the line in obtaining a full time post LS job. If you think you can swing it, it might really be worth it to try. In any event, if you are going to do it, now is the time to try. You are most desirable as a 2nd year LS for intern placement at a small firm.


I'll be arguing a motion and not in my office at all today, so if anyone has further questions, please feel free to post them and I'll have a look tonight or tomorrow. One of the best parts about a small firm - the ability to do your own thing on Court days.


Thanks for the advice.

cantabaout
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby cantabaout » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:31 pm

RM sounds like a truly capable attorney - a real one.

nice firm, non-shitty work, real knowledge in the practice of law.

some people are just so superficial: they think biglaw lawyers doing 'high-end' work are true lawyers.

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NoleinNY
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby NoleinNY » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:21 pm

cantabaout wrote:RM sounds like a truly capable attorney - a real one.

nice firm, non-shitty work, real knowledge in the practice of law.

some people are just so superficial: they think biglaw lawyers doing 'high-end' work are true lawyers.

Truth.

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patrickd139
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby patrickd139 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:26 am

As per usual, another solid thread from r_m. Thanks again for your contributions. (Seriously.)

How was the hearing?

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:32 am

patrickd139 wrote:As per usual, another solid thread from r_m. Thanks again for your contributions. (Seriously.)

How was the hearing?



Summary judgment granted for my client. Definitely a good day. Usually you wind up waiting months for a decision, but on this one the judge ruled from the bench. Mostly because there are other defendants (who might be liable), still in the suit, so it made sense to let my client out so the court could focus its attention on the remaining motions and cross motions.

Back to Court today on a different case. Then home to finish off a mediation brief for an upcoming mediation session. Very Busy week, but good billing :) Will definitely be checking back in here tomorrow during the day...

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beach_terror
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby beach_terror » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:20 pm

Kind of an odd question, but maybe you have some insight. 2L here and I missed the biglaw boat. Got an offer to do a summer in house, which should lead to an offer to stay after graduation. I still want to go into private practice at some point though. Do you ever see younger attorneys transferring from in house gigs to firm jobs (at your firms, or other firms)?

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Grizz
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Grizz » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:10 pm

Any advice for those with summer firm offers who really want to get that permanent offer? ITE I don't want to take anything for granted.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:53 am

What are partner prospects for you? I have an offer for a small firm that pays similarly (adjusted for cost of living) to your gig to start, but the big draw is that they offer partner after just a few years. The result of that is that all of their attorneys except one are partners. Full partner is another handful of years after that, with sizable raises each year from first year partner to full partner. I was curious if this setup (guaranteed partnershi /, almost all the attorneys being partners) is common for small firms in NYC as well. It is definitely the biggest draw of the firm for me, along with the easy hours (the firm is a ghost town by 5:15 every evening).

Second, do they offer a 401k? The firm that offered me does not, which is kind of weird. They are looking into it, however.

Third, how do others in the legal profession view your firm? Do you have exit options? One of the partners at the firm that offered me recently became a judge, but everyone else just seems to stay there at the firm. On the one hand, that could be good, because it suggests that it's a decent place to work if nobody leaves. On the other hand, it might suggest that the attorneys simply have poor exit options. From what I can tell, the firm is well-respected in its geographical area, but I'm not sure it's the type of place that you leave to go in-house for a corporation or whatever. Then again, if I'm working ~50 hours a week and making partner money, why would I want to leave? So...what do you think would be most likely to cause you to want to leave in the future and where might you go?

Thanks a lot for the thread. It's obviously relevant to my interests! Good small law seems harder to find than biglaw.




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