Top Flight DC Firms

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:43 pm

Magnificent wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My career center has led me to believe that I am competitive at the top firms in DC. I know, DC is the hardest market to crack, and I don't plan on bidding only top firms, and I have a home market that I am equally interested in working in that I will also be bidding. However, I'm wondering what the best firms are in DC, and more importantly if there is a large drop off between firms. FWIW, I am interested chiefly in Government Enforcement/Regulatory as well as General Litigation.

These boards and the Vault DC rankings seem to be in agreement that the top firms are W&C, Covington, A&P, Wilmer and Hogan. Would it peer to say that these are mostly peers or perhaps in that order one being slightly better/more prestigious than the other?? Or are there huge gaps between the quality of some of these firms.

I am mostly interested in this because I'm curious about how overall prestige/ranking translates into the ability to lateral (either into BigGov or In House) 4 to 6 years down the road. Do any of these firm(s) open significantly more doors than the other(s)?



I don't think that you'll have to worry about it. I think that you should look at all different firms in DC. The government is not going to care whether you went to Kirkland DC, Arnold & Porter, Williams & Connolly, Covington, Wilmer Hale, or Skadden. The government cares that you have the specific type of experience that they are looking for.

Prestige is a silly concept and it only exists in your mind. I've never met a kid from a top law firm and thought, wow (S)he is prestigious. I've been in rooms with guys from williams and connolly and women from Hogan and I never thought that one was more prestigious than the other (though williams is a more prestigious firm).

The Williams & Connolly guy probably got better grades, probably went to a better law school, probably did a clerkship and it is why Williams & Connolly wanted him. That's what they are looking for. If he gets good experience, he can go to main justice or become an AUSA pretty easily. If he distinguishes himself, he might become a federal judge.

But main justice and AUSA and the federal government in general is not out there looking for Williams & Connolly associates. They are out there looking for people with top-notch experience and specific experience. The girl from Hogan will get into the government over the guy from W&C if she has the more relevant experience.

And I'm saying this as a guy who believes W&C is the second most prestigious firm in the USA behind Wachtell.


First of all, W&C is much more prestigious than Wachtell. More W&C summers go on to clerk for the Supreme Court than any other firm. W&C also has a sitting SCOTUS judge as an alum, something not many other firms can say.

Second, you obviously know nothing about DC or the legal profession. Pretty much the only capital lawyers have going for them is prestige. Which is why law school, clerkship, and firm prestige always matter. Firm prestige is especially significant at least at the associate level and the W&C associate will ALWAYS be more prestigious and thought of more highly than a Hogan associate. Certain practice areas can carry more prestige than W&C, for example GDC and Wilmer's appellate groups are filled with SCOTUS clerks and they would carry more prestige.


The best part is that CJ Roberts was with Hogan.

Magnificent
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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby Magnificent » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Magnificent wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My career center has led me to believe that I am competitive at the top firms in DC. I know, DC is the hardest market to crack, and I don't plan on bidding only top firms, and I have a home market that I am equally interested in working in that I will also be bidding. However, I'm wondering what the best firms are in DC, and more importantly if there is a large drop off between firms. FWIW, I am interested chiefly in Government Enforcement/Regulatory as well as General Litigation.

These boards and the Vault DC rankings seem to be in agreement that the top firms are W&C, Covington, A&P, Wilmer and Hogan. Would it peer to say that these are mostly peers or perhaps in that order one being slightly better/more prestigious than the other?? Or are there huge gaps between the quality of some of these firms.

I am mostly interested in this because I'm curious about how overall prestige/ranking translates into the ability to lateral (either into BigGov or In House) 4 to 6 years down the road. Do any of these firm(s) open significantly more doors than the other(s)?



I don't think that you'll have to worry about it. I think that you should look at all different firms in DC. The government is not going to care whether you went to Kirkland DC, Arnold & Porter, Williams & Connolly, Covington, Wilmer Hale, or Skadden. The government cares that you have the specific type of experience that they are looking for.

Prestige is a silly concept and it only exists in your mind. I've never met a kid from a top law firm and thought, wow (S)he is prestigious. I've been in rooms with guys from williams and connolly and women from Hogan and I never thought that one was more prestigious than the other (though williams is a more prestigious firm).

The Williams & Connolly guy probably got better grades, probably went to a better law school, probably did a clerkship and it is why Williams & Connolly wanted him. That's what they are looking for. If he gets good experience, he can go to main justice or become an AUSA pretty easily. If he distinguishes himself, he might become a federal judge.

But main justice and AUSA and the federal government in general is not out there looking for Williams & Connolly associates. They are out there looking for people with top-notch experience and specific experience. The girl from Hogan will get into the government over the guy from W&C if she has the more relevant experience.

And I'm saying this as a guy who believes W&C is the second most prestigious firm in the USA behind Wachtell.


First of all, W&C is much more prestigious than Wachtell. More W&C summers go on to clerk for the Supreme Court than any other firm. W&C also has a sitting SCOTUS judge as an alum, something not many other firms can say.

Second, you obviously know nothing about DC or the legal profession. Pretty much the only capital lawyers have going for them is prestige. Which is why law school, clerkship, and firm prestige always matter. Firm prestige is especially significant at least at the associate level and the W&C associate will ALWAYS be more prestigious and thought of more highly than a Hogan associate. Certain practice areas can carry more prestige than W&C, for example GDC and Wilmer's appellate groups are filled with SCOTUS clerks and they would carry more prestige.


The best part is that CJ Roberts was with Hogan.


He worked at Hogan and Harston. I and most elite DC lawyers don't consider it the same firm anymore after the merger.

Magnificent
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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby Magnificent » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:00 pm

Haymarket wrote:
Magnificent wrote:
First of all, W&C is much more prestigious than Wachtell.

I stopped reading here.


W&C is more selective and more in demand at elite law schools. All the top students at Harvard/Yale want to work at W&C not Wachtell.

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby sky7 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:08 pm

I'm going to go on the record that I think Magnificent is awesome. Consistent law student pwnage.

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby rayiner » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:14 pm

What an utterly ridiculous thing to say. Hogan Lovells is a verein. It's doesn't share profits between the Hogan side and the Lovells side, most management is still not centralized. The big dramatic change has been that they're on a common internal IT network, much to the kvetching of the Hogan people.

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:30 pm

Magnificent wrote:
He worked at Hogan and Harston. I and most elite DC lawyers don't consider it the same firm anymore after the merger.


(1) You are not a lawyer. You are a law student.

(2) They are building their appellate practice back up and their co-heads of their appellate group are well-respected by real lawyers.

(3) I know a number of people who: (a) chose them over other 'elite' firms and (b) were unable to get an offer from them despite getting offers from other 'elite' firms

(4) I don't understand why you post here. If you are real, you are insufferable (and I pity your fellow SA's and future fellow clerks). If you are fake, the shtick is worn out.

jd20132013
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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby jd20132013 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:18 pm

I think the last magnificent comment jumped the shark

TheProsecutor
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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby TheProsecutor » Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:34 pm

Magnificent wrote:
Haymarket wrote:
Magnificent wrote:
First of all, W&C is much more prestigious than Wachtell.

I stopped reading here.


W&C is more selective and more in demand at elite law schools. All the top students at Harvard/Yale want to work at W&C not Wachtell.


LOL....

Yeah the kids at the top of the class at HYS interested in Corporate work prefer W&C.

Who are you?

chasgoose
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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby chasgoose » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:33 pm

TheProsecutor wrote:
Magnificent wrote:
Haymarket wrote:
Magnificent wrote:
First of all, W&C is much more prestigious than Wachtell.

I stopped reading here.


W&C is more selective and more in demand at elite law schools. All the top students at Harvard/Yale want to work at W&C not Wachtell.


LOL....

Yeah the kids at the top of the class at HYS interested in Corporate work prefer W&C.

Who are you?


Don't you KNOW? No truly elite lawyer wants to do corporate work. The only prestigious law is litigation. DUH! Wachtell is just a backup for those not good enough to get appellate work in DC.

In all seriousness though, how do you know when you get hired at the "prestigious" DC firms that you are going to be able to work in the appellate group? Aren't they fairly small and limited (like small enough so that not even all SCOTUS clerks could do top-flight appellate work if they wanted to), not to mention that the partners are loath to dole out any meaningful responsibility? Sure, GDC DC's appellate group is one of the best, if not the best, in the nation, but the rest of the firm, while still great, isn't drastically more prestigious than top NYC corporate or other DC lit options. Getting an offer from GDC DC is not a surefire ticket to appellate glory, its just an offer to work at GDC DC and maybe get within sniffing distance of the prestige wafting from the appellate group's offices if you are lucky. Just because all you read in law school are appellate cases doesn't mean appellate work is the ne plus ultra of legal work in the nation.

Magnificent
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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby Magnificent » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:28 pm

chasgoose wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:
Magnificent wrote:W&C is more selective and more in demand at elite law schools. All the top students at Harvard/Yale want to work at W&C not Wachtell.


LOL....

Yeah the kids at the top of the class at HYS interested in Corporate work prefer W&C.

Who are you?


Don't you KNOW? No truly elite lawyer wants to do corporate work. The only prestigious law is litigation. DUH! Wachtell is just a backup for those not good enough to get appellate work in DC.

In all seriousness though, how do you know when you get hired at the "prestigious" DC firms that you are going to be able to work in the appellate group? Aren't they fairly small and limited (like small enough so that not even all SCOTUS clerks could do top-flight appellate work if they wanted to), not to mention that the partners are loath to dole out any meaningful responsibility? Sure, GDC DC's appellate group is one of the best, if not the best, in the nation, but the rest of the firm, while still great, isn't drastically more prestigious than top NYC corporate or other DC lit options. Getting an offer from GDC DC is not a surefire ticket to appellate glory, its just an offer to work at GDC DC and maybe get within sniffing distance of the prestige wafting from the appellate group's offices if you are lucky. Just because all you read in law school are appellate cases doesn't mean appellate work is the ne plus ultra of legal work in the nation.


It depends on the DC firm. GDC for example has so much appellate work in the DC office that folks not even in the appellate group get a good share of the appellate work. A firm like Wilmer on the other hand mostly keeps the appellate work within the appellate group which is small and made up almost exclusively of former SCOTUS clerks. However, even Wilmer which is notoriously selfish when it comes to appellate work allows many people not within the appellate group to do a fair share of appellate work. If you can get work at a boutique like Kellogg Huber or Robins Russell then your pretty much guaranteed appellate work. No one in DC does appellate 100% of the time. However, most of the firms allow folks who are interested to at least work on an appellate matter or two a year if they are interested. But if you are a superstar then you can pretty much demand more appellate work and you'll get it.

The reason appellate work is attractive to the top students at Harvard/Yale and other elite law schools, is because its the most intellectually rigorous practice area in law and it also has the most prestigious exit options. I assume that the appellate practice translates the best for anyone who wants to be a professor or judge in private practice. Other practice groups pigeon hole you in one area of law, while appellate gives you broad knowledge of many areas.

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:30 pm

Magnificent wrote:
It depends on the DC firm. GDC for example has so much appellate work in the DC office that folks not even in the appellate group get a good share of the appellate work. A firm like Wilmer on the other hand mostly keeps the appellate work within the appellate group which is small and made up almost exclusively of former SCOTUS clerks. However, even Wilmer which is notoriously selfish when it comes to appellate work allows many people not within the appellate group to do a fair share of appellate work. If you can get work at a boutique like Kellogg Huber or Robins Russell then your pretty much guaranteed appellate work. No one in DC does appellate 100% of the time. However, most of the firms allow folks who are interested to at least work on an appellate matter or two a year if they are interested. But if you are a superstar then you can pretty much demand more appellate work and you'll get it.

The reason appellate work is attractive to the top students at Harvard/Yale and other elite law schools, is because its the most intellectually rigorous practice area in law and it also has the most prestigious exit options. I assume that the appellate practice translates the best for anyone who wants to be a professor or judge in private practice. Other practice groups pigeon hole you in one area of law, while appellate gives you broad knowledge of many areas.


(1) Appellate work is not the most intellectually rigorous. Sorry, but I would give the award to complicated tax planning or ERISA work. Making the best legal arguments that are properly preserved in a record that you didn't have control of, eh... Plus, at SCOTUS level, most of the cases are such carefully selected vehicles that only 1 or 2 issues are presented.

(2) Appellate work pigeon holes you way, way more than other areas. You have zero skills and zero expertise - you can write well... but you don't have specialized knowledge and you can't run a case or a deal... a team of law students led by a practitioner or two can do what an appellate group does... What percentage of SCOTUS cases are now brought by clinics? A rather high percentage.

(3) Corporate work partner exit options = way more prestigious (sorry bro, but GC of F500 >>>>> ASG); plus, best exit option = highest pay doing something you enjoy (i.e., I'd rather be a happy litigating AUSA than a prof).

(4) Exiting to professor - based on what you published, no one care what you did at the firm. FWIW - I see a lot more corporate types doing well on the prof market right now... plus, the Cov produces tons of academics yet doesn't have all that big of an appellate practice.

(5) If you want to be a judge, get political connections and spend some time as an AUSA or as a prof.

Magnificent
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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby Magnificent » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(1) Appellate work is not the most intellectually rigorous. Sorry, but I would give the award to complicated tax planning or ERISA work. Making the best legal arguments that are properly preserved in a record that you didn't have control of, eh... Plus, at SCOTUS level, most of the cases are such carefully selected vehicles that only 1 or 2 issues are presented.


Sorry bro. But only the smartest of the smartest are allowed to practice appellate law at the top DC firms. That alone makes more intellectually rigorous cause your gonna be going against the smartest legal minds in the country (both in terms of opposing counsel when its a big time firm OR in terms of the appellate judges whose mind you have to convince).

Trial work, while complicated, is usually in front of stupid state court judges or against stupid opposing counsel who are looking for a quick payday.

(2) Appellate work pigeon holes you way, way more than other areas. You have zero skills and zero expertise - you can write well... but you don't have specialized knowledge and you can't run a case or a deal... a team of law students led by a practitioner or two can do what an appellate group does... What percentage of SCOTUS cases are now brought by clinics? A rather high percentage.


Writing persuasive arguments = most important skill in lawyering

Plus who the hell wants to run a case or a deal. I'd much rather spend my time focusing on one or two key legal issues that worrying myself with the mindless banter of a deal or case.

(3) Corporate work partner exit options = way more prestigious (sorry bro, but GC of F500 >>>>> ASG); plus, best exit option = highest pay doing something you enjoy (i.e., I'd rather be a happy litigating AUSA than a prof).


Well if you came into law to make money then you'll always be losing since the finance boys will always have the upper hand. I personally came into law school not giving a damn about money but rather trying to position myself to one day get in position to make a real difference in this world.

(4) Exiting to professor - based on what you published, no one care what you did at the firm. FWIW - I see a lot more corporate types doing well on the prof market right now... plus, the Cov produces tons of academics yet doesn't have all that big of an appellate practice.


Never said anything about firm and becoming a professor. Only made the point that appellate lawyers seem more likely to become big time profs/judges than other practice areas (see most SCOTUS judges, Neal Katyal, Goodwin Lui, etc.)

(5) If you want to be a judge, get political connections and spend some time as an AUSA or as a prof.

[/quote]

Working in DC at a top appellate firm, lateraling into high government position/academia = how to get political connections

Look at some of the guys who recently got top CoA judgeships. Sri Srinvasan nominated to DC Circuit was an appellate lawyers. So was Paul Watford recently confirmed to the 9th circuit. Both are potential SCOTUS nominees for the next Democratic president.

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby fatduck » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:04 pm

Magnificent wrote:Well if you came into law to make money then you'll always be losing since the finance boys will always have the upper hand. I personally came into law school not giving a damn about money but rather trying to position myself to one day get in position to make a real difference in this world.

1 fucking 80. you've reached trolling nirvana. quit now while you are at the absolute top.

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby chasgoose » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:12 pm

Sorry bro. But only the smartest of the smartest are allowed to practice appellate law at the top DC firms. That alone makes more intellectually rigorous cause your gonna be going against the smartest legal minds in the country (both in terms of opposing counsel when its a big time firm OR in terms of the appellate judges whose mind you have to convince).


How are you going to succeed in appellate work if you can't write? Law school success isn't necessarily tied to writing ability (my best exams look like they were written by a borderline illiterate 5th grader in terms of style/grammar) but I'm pretty sure the smartest legal minds in the country know the difference between "your" and "you're."

ETA: I apologize for pushing this further, but I don't want it to end...
Last edited by chasgoose on Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby GeePee » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:13 pm

Apparently Magnificent's trolling is entertaining the mods, too. I know it's entertaining me.

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:21 pm

Magnificent wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:(1) Appellate work is not the most intellectually rigorous. Sorry, but I would give the award to complicated tax planning or ERISA work. Making the best legal arguments that are properly preserved in a record that you didn't have control of, eh... Plus, at SCOTUS level, most of the cases are such carefully selected vehicles that only 1 or 2 issues are presented.


Sorry bro. But only the smartest of the smartest are allowed to practice appellate law at the top DC firms. That alone makes more intellectually rigorous cause your gonna be going against the smartest legal minds in the country (both in terms of opposing counsel when its a big time firm OR in terms of the appellate judges whose mind you have to convince).

Trial work, while complicated, is usually in front of stupid state court judges or against stupid opposing counsel who are looking for a quick payday.

(2) Appellate work pigeon holes you way, way more than other areas. You have zero skills and zero expertise - you can write well... but you don't have specialized knowledge and you can't run a case or a deal... a team of law students led by a practitioner or two can do what an appellate group does... What percentage of SCOTUS cases are now brought by clinics? A rather high percentage.


Writing persuasive arguments = most important skill in lawyering

Plus who the hell wants to run a case or a deal. I'd much rather spend my time focusing on one or two key legal issues that worrying myself with the mindless banter of a deal or case.

(3) Corporate work partner exit options = way more prestigious (sorry bro, but GC of F500 >>>>> ASG); plus, best exit option = highest pay doing something you enjoy (i.e., I'd rather be a happy litigating AUSA than a prof).


Well if you came into law to make money then you'll always be losing since the finance boys will always have the upper hand. I personally came into law school not giving a damn about money but rather trying to position myself to one day get in position to make a real difference in this world.

(4) Exiting to professor - based on what you published, no one care what you did at the firm. FWIW - I see a lot more corporate types doing well on the prof market right now... plus, the Cov produces tons of academics yet doesn't have all that big of an appellate practice.


Never said anything about firm and becoming a professor. Only made the point that appellate lawyers seem more likely to become big time profs/judges than other practice areas (see most SCOTUS judges, Neal Katyal, Goodwin Lui, etc.)

(5) If you want to be a judge, get political connections and spend some time as an AUSA or as a prof.



Working in DC at a top appellate firm, lateraling into high government position/academia = how to get political connections

Look at some of the guys who recently got top CoA judgeships. Sri Srinvasan nominated to DC Circuit was an appellate lawyers. So was Paul Watford recently confirmed to the 9th circuit. Both are potential SCOTUS nominees for the next Democratic president.[/quote]

Most important skill in lawyering is winning or keeping your client happy... clients don't care whether you think you're a good writer, they just want to win... And you aren't going to change the world as a lawyer, and certainly not as a judge (unless you're a Reihardt wannabe)... Best way to become a prof now is via Climenko or Bigelow fellowships (and very few, if any, were appellate lawyers)...

screw it... you're full of crap, but it's just not worth it... just troll on bro, troll on...

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:38 pm

Re: W&C and Appellate Practice, they have been as active in SCOTUS as any firm in the country the last two terms. This is almost purely a function of adding Kannon Shanmugham from the SG's office, who heads that practice. True, it's basically a one-man shop, so maybe not as many opportunities for associates in appellate lit as other firms with deeper benches (GDC, Jones Day, Latham, Wilmer, etc.). But to suggest that W&C has "no" appellate practice is just flat wrong--the Chambers ranking is accurate if based on nothing else besides the work Kannon has done in SCOTUS lately. They also have tons of SCOTUS clerks, even if all of those people aren't actually doing appellate work on a day-to-day basis.

Going back to the original question, I think most people's sense is that Hogan is probably not quite in the same group as the other firms that were mentioned. I think the Vault DC rankings are pretty accurate, actually. If I were putting DC firms into tiers, it would be 1) W&C/Covington 2) Arnold & Porter/Wilmer 3) Hogan/GDC/Kirkland/Sidley/Skadden/Latham/Jones Day 4) everyone else. The caveat, of course, is that in comparison to NYC, the quality of firms in DC varies much more dramatically across practice groups. For example, in some particular area, some other firm that I haven't named might be better than any firms I did name. But, I think those tiers are more or less accurate (with room for debate) in terms of "general prestige."

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Going back to the original question, I think most people's sense is that Hogan is probably not quite in the same group as the other firms that were mentioned. I think the Vault DC rankings are pretty accurate, actually. If I were putting DC firms into tiers, it would be 1) W&C/Covington 2) Arnold & Porter/Wilmer 3) Hogan/GDC/Kirkland/Sidley/Skadden/Latham/Jones Day 4) everyone else. The caveat, of course, is that in comparison to NYC, the quality of firms in DC varies much more dramatically across practice groups. For example, in some particular area, some other firm that I haven't named might be better than any firms I did name. But, I think those tiers are more or less accurate (with room for debate) in terms of "general prestige."


OP Here. Thanks so much for this synopsis. Exactly what I was looking for and seems to be in line with the advice of the other posters if I split the difference of the waring factions. Or should I say everyone v. Magnificent. :)

I think I'll just interview with as many DC firms as I can, hopefully get some callbacks, and make an assessment from there if I can get a feel for more fit with the firm. I think the most troubling thing for me as a rising 2L, is frankly I don't know exactly what type of law I want to practice. I have an idea of an industry (healthcare) and practice type (regulatory work and government investigations) but I want to avoid shutting doors by choosing a firm that's strong in one area but weaker in others. Thanks again for all of your thoughts though.

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Re: Top Flight DC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:50 pm

the credited DC only work is government relations. HTH.




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