private work <----> public interest (transition)

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mel2010
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private work <----> public interest (transition)

Postby mel2010 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:39 pm

I don't know if many on here have actual experience with this, so I welcome the typical conjecture as well as any anecdotes. Can a transition from one to the other be done? Which direction might be more feasible? By private work I mainly have biglaw in mind, but midlaw / others would be interesting to hear about too. By public interest I primarily mean government work, but potentially nonprofits/etc.

I'm basically wondering if you work in one sector for ~5 years and have a change of heart (for good or for evil), how closed are those other doors?

jd-mba
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Re: private work <----> public interest (transition)

Postby jd-mba » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:10 am

i talked to some federal judges and people from USAO who did both directions. usually if you go from USAO, you get recruited to become partners at law firms. i'm guessing if they could do it, you can, too. i'm looking at transitioning in the future as well.

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mel2010
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Re: private work <----> public interest (transition)

Postby mel2010 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:13 pm

Thanks for the reply. When you say go from USAO, does that includes AUSAs or just the head honcho? Any idea what the typical timeframe is on how long those people worked in USAO before switching?

Any other people with experience/stories?

adonai
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Re: private work <----> public interest (transition)

Postby adonai » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:55 pm

If you're looking to transition from biglaw to a nonprofit, expect to do some full-time volunteering before you get enough cred to get hired.

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mel2010
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Re: private work <----> public interest (transition)

Postby mel2010 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:49 pm

adonai wrote:If you're looking to transition from biglaw to a nonprofit, expect to do some full-time volunteering before you get enough cred to get hired.

That was the impression I got just based on vague conversations, but do you know of people who have actually done this? And do you really think a nonprofit would be unwilling to hire a biglawyer with 5 years exp who was willing to work for the entry-level nonprofit salary? I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'm wondering if you have more hard info than I do.

adonai
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Re: private work <----> public interest (transition)

Postby adonai » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:06 pm

mel2010 wrote:
adonai wrote:If you're looking to transition from biglaw to a nonprofit, expect to do some full-time volunteering before you get enough cred to get hired.

That was the impression I got just based on vague conversations, but do you know of people who have actually done this? And do you really think a nonprofit would be unwilling to hire a biglawyer with 5 years exp who was willing to work for the entry-level nonprofit salary? I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'm wondering if you have more hard info than I do.

My former boss was a transactional associate at Orrick for a few years and "lateraled" to a nonprofit. She worked over a year without pay to get the spot she has now and she had absolutely no PI experience whatsoever. It was what she originally wanted to do before biglaw so she was willing to do it and lived off money saved from biglaw. I'm sure transactional to more impact litigation type work is not a typical transition , but with enough hard work I guess it can be done. From other people I talked to, it seems biglaw experience is highly valued (at least at the place I worked at, which is "prestigious" in our area) it is just that you need to pay your dues to show you are serious about the work.

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mel2010
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Re: private work <----> public interest (transition)

Postby mel2010 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:09 pm

Makes sense, thanks for the info.




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