WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

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citylawyer1010
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WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby citylawyer1010 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:41 am

What does it take (ranking of school/ranking in class) to get each of the following types of jobs for a recent law graduate?

1) High-end insurance defense and/or commercial litigation firm (with former "biglaw" attorneys) at approx 50-100 size firm?
2) City government (attorney general/city solicitar)
3) DA or PD jobs
4) Low-end insurance defense firm (PI, Med Mal)

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:04 am

I think it's going to be very hard for anyone to answer this because it depends on a lot of factors. For instance, many DA/PD jobs don't care about grades (though a few big cities seem to), but will only hire people who interned for a DA/PD during school (ideally the same office that they're applying to), have had experience in court/handling clients, and can show true dedication to the cause. City government probably depends on the city and on the economy (I have some classmates from my lower T1 working for entities - I don't know their grades, probably at least median or a bit higher; they usually clerked for the entity during law school). And something like the high-end insurance defense/commercial litigation firm (or the low-end insurance firm, actually) seems like it could be as much about networking and experience as school/grades, since my impression is these firms don't hire through the traditional OCI processes.

The other thing is that these are jobs you often need to prepare for during law school (by getting the relevant experience/working for the employer as a student law clerk/taking relevant courses), so if you are in fact a recent law grad, again, it's not only about school/grades but what experience you got during law school that would be relevant. If you have no courtroom/criminal experience, you're likely to get a DA/PD job, but the insurance firms won't care.

citylawyer1010
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby citylawyer1010 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:10 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think it's going to be very hard for anyone to answer this because it depends on a lot of factors. For instance, many DA/PD jobs don't care about grades (though a few big cities seem to), but will only hire people who interned for a DA/PD during school (ideally the same office that they're applying to), have had experience in court/handling clients, and can show true dedication to the cause. City government probably depends on the city and on the economy (I have some classmates from my lower T1 working for entities - I don't know their grades, probably at least median or a bit higher; they usually clerked for the entity during law school). And something like the high-end insurance defense/commercial litigation firm (or the low-end insurance firm, actually) seems like it could be as much about networking and experience as school/grades, since my impression is these firms don't hire through the traditional OCI processes.

The other thing is that these are jobs you often need to prepare for during law school (by getting the relevant experience/working for the employer as a student law clerk/taking relevant courses), so if you are in fact a recent law grad, again, it's not only about school/grades but what experience you got during law school that would be relevant. If you have no courtroom/criminal experience, you're likely to get a DA/PD job, but the insurance firms won't care.


How are "insurance defense" firms different from regular firms. In fact, don't most firms occasionally represent people with policies?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:15 am

Well, you're the one who made the distinction between insurance defense firms and other firms. But in any case, an insurance defense firm defends insurance companies, and doesn't represent individual people with policies. They are basically trying to find ways for the insurance company not to have to pay out on policies. My impression is that they are generally local and mid/small-law, not biglaw, hence the different hiring practices, though there are probably bigger ones too. Beyond that, I don't know anything about them (and I'm sure they vary a lot by region/size/etc.).

(ignore this, no idea what I'm talking about)
Last edited by A. Nony Mouse on Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

citylawyer1010
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby citylawyer1010 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:20 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Well, you're the one who made the distinction between insurance defense firms and other firms. But in any case, an insurance defense firm defends insurance companies, and doesn't represent individual people with policies. They are basically trying to find ways for the insurance company not to have to pay out on policies. My impression is that they are generally local and mid/small-law, not biglaw, hence the different hiring practices, though there are probably bigger ones too. Beyond that, I don't know anything about them (and I'm sure they vary a lot by region/size/etc.).


so you're telling me its like going to law school...its either crap or t14...and now biglaw or nobody knows about it.

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:24 am

Well, you're the one who made the distinction between insurance defense firms and other firms. But in any case, an insurance defense firm defends insurance companies, and doesn't represent individual people with policies. They are basically trying to find ways for the insurance company not to have to pay out on policies. My impression is that they are generally local and mid/small-law, not biglaw, hence the different hiring practices, though there are probably bigger ones too. Beyond that, I don't know anything about them (and I'm sure they vary a lot by region/size/etc.).


This isn't really correct. You're thinking about insurance coverage firms (I think), which are a bit bigger and do a bit more sophisticated (and lucrative) work than ID firms.

Insurance defense firms typically are hired by insurance companies to represent policyholders who have been sued. Think like an auto accident -- the guy you hit sues you, you file a claim, your insurer hires you a lawyer. The work generally sucks for a couple of reasons. First, a lot of it is really boring and mundane stuff that simultaneously takes a lot of time and effort to litigate, like that auto accident or a slip-and-fall in the grocery store or whatever. Second, insurance companies pay NOTHING (sometimes as low as like $80 an hour) on these cases, which means that ID firms have to compensate by churning a TON of these cases. So if you're a lawyer at an ID firm, you have a ton of boring, tedious cases requiring a good bit of work, and you're probably getting paid (effectively) $30 an hour or so. It's a recipe for misery.

Oh, and there's also the ethical problems inherent in the fact that your client isn't paying you -- and the insurer who is may have very different interests at stake. For example, an insurer won't care about damages once they exceed policy limits. But the policyholder sure will. So once it looks like that the damages are going to exceed the limits, the insurer wants you to stop billing, whereas the policyholder wants you to keep going.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:53 am

theaccidentalclerk wrote:
Well, you're the one who made the distinction between insurance defense firms and other firms. But in any case, an insurance defense firm defends insurance companies, and doesn't represent individual people with policies. They are basically trying to find ways for the insurance company not to have to pay out on policies. My impression is that they are generally local and mid/small-law, not biglaw, hence the different hiring practices, though there are probably bigger ones too. Beyond that, I don't know anything about them (and I'm sure they vary a lot by region/size/etc.).


This isn't really correct. You're thinking about insurance coverage firms (I think), which are a bit bigger and do a bit more sophisticated (and lucrative) work than ID firms.

Insurance defense firms typically are hired by insurance companies to represent policyholders who have been sued. Think like an auto accident -- the guy you hit sues you, you file a claim, your insurer hires you a lawyer. The work generally sucks for a couple of reasons. First, a lot of it is really boring and mundane stuff that simultaneously takes a lot of time and effort to litigate, like that auto accident or a slip-and-fall in the grocery store or whatever. Second, insurance companies pay NOTHING (sometimes as low as like $80 an hour) on these cases, which means that ID firms have to compensate by churning a TON of these cases. So if you're a lawyer at an ID firm, you have a ton of boring, tedious cases requiring a good bit of work, and you're probably getting paid (effectively) $30 an hour or so. It's a recipe for misery.

Oh, and there's also the ethical problems inherent in the fact that your client isn't paying you -- and the insurer who is may have very different interests at stake. For example, an insurer won't care about damages once they exceed policy limits. But the policyholder sure will. So once it looks like that the damages are going to exceed the limits, the insurer wants you to stop billing, whereas the policyholder wants you to keep going.

Ahh, I get it - my bad (I am kind of a civil lit idiot). OP, ignore my answer! And that totally makes sense based on what I've heard about such firms relying on high volume (and consequently not always being especially thorough/conscientious).

Also, OP, if you want to use the law school analogy, there's still a lot of variation outside the T14. If biglaw = T14, some firms are the equivalent of really strong T1s/regional flagships that place well in their region and are perfectly respectable, if not the elite of the elite. Others are like Thomas Jefferson and Cooley.

citylawyer1010
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby citylawyer1010 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:06 pm

theaccidentalclerk wrote:
Well, you're the one who made the distinction between insurance defense firms and other firms. But in any case, an insurance defense firm defends insurance companies, and doesn't represent individual people with policies. They are basically trying to find ways for the insurance company not to have to pay out on policies. My impression is that they are generally local and mid/small-law, not biglaw, hence the different hiring practices, though there are probably bigger ones too. Beyond that, I don't know anything about them (and I'm sure they vary a lot by region/size/etc.).


This isn't really correct. You're thinking about insurance coverage firms (I think), which are a bit bigger and do a bit more sophisticated (and lucrative) work than ID firms.

Insurance defense firms typically are hired by insurance companies to represent policyholders who have been sued. Think like an auto accident -- the guy you hit sues you, you file a claim, your insurer hires you a lawyer. The work generally sucks for a couple of reasons. First, a lot of it is really boring and mundane stuff that simultaneously takes a lot of time and effort to litigate, like that auto accident or a slip-and-fall in the grocery store or whatever. Second, insurance companies pay NOTHING (sometimes as low as like $80 an hour) on these cases, which means that ID firms have to compensate by churning a TON of these cases. So if you're a lawyer at an ID firm, you have a ton of boring, tedious cases requiring a good bit of work, and you're probably getting paid (effectively) $30 an hour or so. It's a recipe for misery.

Oh, and there's also the ethical problems inherent in the fact that your client isn't paying you -- and the insurer who is may have very different interests at stake. For example, an insurer won't care about damages once they exceed policy limits. But the policyholder sure will. So once it looks like that the damages are going to exceed the limits, the insurer wants you to stop billing, whereas the policyholder wants you to keep going.


Insurance defense though can be all sorts of policies...commercial, employment and the more sophisticated cases im sure pay upwards of 200. So you may be generalizing.

Anonymous User
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:11 pm

reasonable_man
Post subject: Re: insurance defensePosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:14 pm

"At my first firm, I split my time between "insurance defense" and commercial litigation. However, the insurance defense work that firm did was on the high end, i.e. serious carriers with actual real cases, i.e. toxic tort, products liability, real malpractice claims, etc. These cases often had large law firms (v15), as co-defendants and required a real understanding of the law. Another solid area in NY is the NY Labor Law for construction accidents where multiple layers of insurance are at issue and cases often go up on appeal. In short, at a firm that does that level of work, its not bad at all. When I left, my salary was about to be raised to 80k before bonus and I was only admitted to practice for one year. Frankly, thats not awful. Ultimately, I left to go to a small wall street firm where the percentage of ID work as compared to working for direct direct clients on more complicated matters would be much smaller. However, I still have a few ID cases I handle, which allow me to handle the matter from start to finish. Its good training and its steady work, which is why many firms use it as a supplement.

When you're talking about ID work you cannot just broadly use the term ID. There are too many variants. If you're talking about defending 15k rear-end soft tissue auto accident cases, that is one thing. However, if you're defending a Fortune 50 company in a products liability action with potential serious exposure (which I have gotten to do), then that is quite another. As with all things, it really depends on what you're doing.

For high end ID in a primary market, associates 1 to 8 years will typically earn 60k to 140k or so. Partners typically earn 150k to a few million for the very best/sought after (i.e. the ones with a huge book of business). I understand that on TLS, 80k before bonus for 55 hours a week is awful, but I was ok with that."

theaccidentalclerk
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:23 pm

Insurance defense though can be all sorts of policies...commercial, employment and the more sophisticated cases im sure pay upwards of 200. So you may be generalizing.


Yes, of course. I actually was going to add (but forgot to) that some lines are actually pretty lucrative -- for example, I've heard that medmal ID attorneys bill at rates not that far below what non-ID attorneys bill at for similar matters. And yes, there are high end ID firms in most markets that pay maybe 50% what biglaw does for associates.

But usually, when people complain about crappy ID work, they're talking about auto accidents and slip-and-falls.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby Scotusnerd » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:32 pm

citylawyer1010 wrote:What does it take (ranking of school/ranking in class) to get each of the following types of jobs for a recent law graduate?

1) High-end insurance defense and/or commercial litigation firm (with former "biglaw" attorneys) at approx 50-100 size firm?
2) City government (attorney general/city solicitar)
3) DA or PD jobs
4) Low-end insurance defense firm (PI, Med Mal)


That question is way too broad to have any meaningful answer. It assumes that all firms look at the ranking of the school and the class when making a decision, which is false. Some do, but most legal employers couldn't give a damn where you graduated from as long as you can do the work.

You won't be able to know this until you start networking with attorneys in that field, and can ask them questions related to it. Sorry.

drive4showLSAT4dough
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:35 pm

The answer to 1-4 is the same: Connections.

citylawyer1010
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby citylawyer1010 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:37 pm

Lots of good answers here.

citylawyer1010
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Re: WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

Postby citylawyer1010 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:44 pm

Would everyone say that the market is improving for recent graduates to obtain positions like these?




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