Government Contracts LLM?? or BigLaw Job

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LLMBound2L
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:00 pm

Government Contracts LLM?? or BigLaw Job

Postby LLMBound2L » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:16 pm

Ok so I chose a law school that was not at the top of my law school list, but one that offered me a full-ride (still Tier 1 - but only a top 50 school). I have regretted it ever since, but unfortunately, it is too late to change now (I'm finishing my 2L year). I most likely have a job offer for IP at a big law firm when I graduate. However, I am more interested in government contracts, and on top of that, I would really like to get a degree from a better school than the one I chose (regrettably). I am not located in Washington DC where most of the government contracts biglaw firms reside (as I've heard). My end goal is to do government contracts in-house for a company like Lockheed, Boeing, etc.

Should I accept the big-law offer in IP, keep my debts down, and try to transfer eventually as a lateral either to a big-law govt contracts firm or in-house, or should I go to Washington DC to get my LLM (adding ~ $60k in debt - tuition + living expenses) in government contracts procurement (George Washington U has an LLM program specifically for this).

What should i be thinking about when I make this decision? I don't know anything about the Government Contracts law industry, and my school knows nothing as well (nice.)

I don't want to add to my debt . . . however, IP is not very fun. I could suffer through it for a few years if necessary to get to a better end goal :-)!

TooOld4This
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:09 am

Re: Government Contracts LLM?? or BigLaw Job

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:23 pm

Don't get the LLM. Do start looking at DC firms that do government contracts work and see if they will hire you post-grad. Start getting info interviews now. This summer start applying. Keep applying. Also see if there is any way to get a clerkship on the Court of Federal Claims., even if it is a year or two out. This would be much more valuable than an LLM.

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prezidentv8
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Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:33 am

Re: Government Contracts LLM?? or BigLaw Job

Postby prezidentv8 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:24 pm

Image

Also, you have a job already.

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tfer2222
Posts: 357
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:20 pm

Re: Government Contracts LLM?? or BigLaw Job

Postby tfer2222 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:25 pm

LLMBound2L wrote:Ok so I chose a law school that was not at the top of my law school list, but one that offered me a full-ride (still Tier 1 - but only a top 50 school). I have regretted it ever since, but unfortunately, it is too late to change now (I'm finishing my 2L year). I most likely have a job offer for IP at a big law firm when I graduate. However, I am more interested in government contracts, and on top of that, I would really like to get a degree from a better school than the one I chose (regrettably). I am not located in Washington DC where most of the government contracts biglaw firms reside (as I've heard). My end goal is to do government contracts in-house for a company like Lockheed, Boeing, etc.

Should I accept the big-law offer in IP, keep my debts down, and try to transfer eventually as a lateral either to a big-law govt contracts firm or in-house, or should I go to Washington DC to get my LLM (adding ~ $60k in debt - tuition + living expenses) in government contracts procurement (George Washington U has an LLM program specifically for this).

What should i be thinking about when I make this decision? I don't know anything about the Government Contracts law industry, and my school knows nothing as well (nice.)

I don't want to add to my debt . . . however, IP is not very fun. I could suffer through it for a few years if necessary to get to a better end goal :-)!


No one is going to recommend getting an LLM. Take the biglaw gig. Getting an LLM in anything other than tax is a terrible idea.

Someone please post the obvious LLM decision-tree. [edit: thanks prezidentv8]

Why do you regret taking a full ride? I guarantee you'd regret paying sticker at a higher ranked school with tons of debt and maybe no job opportunity at all. Count your blessings, and take the job. ITE, you're winning the law school game.

Why do you think IP is boring? You likely won't know this until you actually do some of it in the firm.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Government Contracts LLM?? or BigLaw Job

Postby 09042014 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:10 pm

You've got a major case of the "Grass is greener" going on here son. You won the law school lottery. Big law with little debt.

That LLM will barely help you get a job. You'd be stupid to pursue that. Why the hell do you think gov't contracts would be fun anyway. On the state level it's dreadfully boring.

KidStuddi
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:35 pm

Re: Government Contracts LLM?? or BigLaw Job

Postby KidStuddi » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:45 pm

The people who usually enter domestic LLM programs are usually driven there because they're facing unemployment or underemployment upon graduation; it's stupid but at least understandable. You've already got BigLaw and you're considering it because you just want to get a degree from a "better" institution? That's irredeemably stupid. Don't do it.

Also, how can you be so sure you want to do government contracts when you admit you have no idea what government contracts practice actually is like? Or are you just wanting to do what it takes to work at Lockheed because Lockheed sounds preftigious?

LLMBound2L
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:00 pm

Re: Government Contracts LLM?? or BigLaw Job

Postby LLMBound2L » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:28 pm

Thank you so much everyone!!!!

Per your advice, I will head to BigLaw then . . . :-)

I love Govt Contracts bc I used to work in this area on the state level (although not on the legal side), and I found it really fun!

Im sure if I keep applying everywhere, eventually I will find a Govt Contracts Job . . . its good to know that the LLM won't help me much more get a job in this area. I will just apply for jobs in the area and keep applying!!

WilliamDGoose
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:07 am

Re: Government Contracts LLM?? or BigLaw Job

Postby WilliamDGoose » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:35 am

LLMBound2L wrote:Thank you so much everyone!!!!

Per your advice, I will head to BigLaw then . . . :-)

I love Govt Contracts bc I used to work in this area on the state level (although not on the legal side), and I found it really fun!

Im sure if I keep applying everywhere, eventually I will find a Govt Contracts Job . . . its good to know that the LLM won't help me much more get a job in this area. I will just apply for jobs in the area and keep applying!!



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Good luck with this endeavor. I am chiming in late in the game, but I am a Government Contracts attorney and happen to have an LLM from GW. Government Contracts is a specialty area that takes a long time to learn. An LLM would give you good knowledge, but no experience. They also recommend that LLM candidates have some experience first, though there were recent JD graduates there with no experience as a lawyer at all and they did fine. One thing I never saw was an attorney with a big law firm quit their job and enroll to study for an LLM. I did see attorneys at big law firms enter the LLM program part-time.

A an increasingly important area of Government Contracts is IP law. Perhaps the law firm you are going to will allow you to assist on Government Contracts cases that involve IP. This may be your foot in the door for Government Contracts and the only way to have this opportunity is if you take the job you are offered. If you go to GW and get the LLM, it will cost you time and money and still does not guarantee a job. I have screened applications from LLM candidates and ones without experience did not rank well against non-LLM graduates who had years of experience. You definitely are doing the right thing by taking the bird in the hand.

I do disagree with the LLM flow chart, though there is a lot of truth to it. I have gotten a lot of value from my LLM in Government Contracts. I went part time while also working full time. I had planned to study for an LLM in tax, but once I entered the field of Government Contracts, I changed my mind and went that course. At that point, I knew the basics of Government Contracts and knew this was the field of law I would be in forever. I have seen attorneys who love Government Contracts and take to it like a duck to water and I have seen some who hate it and moved out as soon as they could. I did not wake up one day and decide Government Contracts was for me, but it was thrust on me and I liked it. If the firm you are going to has a Government Contracts section, that may be the best way to get in. Just be patient and do the best job you can with your assignments in IP. If you can try to work on cases that involve allegations that the Government has violated someone’s IP rights, that would be a good way to see how litigation against the Government works. There are also a lot of IP issues in Government Contracts and the importance of those issues grows every day – Google the terms “Government Contracts and IP”.




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