Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

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overbroad99
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Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby overbroad99 » Sun May 05, 2013 2:45 pm

Does anyone know anything about the extent to which any of the firms with separate meaningful appellate practices actually have appellate work in their NY offices? All things considered I'd rather live in NY than DC, but it seems much more difficult to actually have access to appellate work in any serious way if you aren't in DC. I'm thinking in particular of Jenner and Wilmer, both of which seem like lovely places to practice.

(Of course appellate practices may or may not be difficult to break into in general; and of course appellate practice may or may not be far less interesting and desirable than it seems right now. However these questions, subjects of recurring debate as they are, are less relevant to this precise question regarding office geography and practice accessibility.)

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thesealocust
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby thesealocust » Sun May 05, 2013 2:51 pm

Appellate litigation is kind of an elaborate flame, from the research I've done (not actually close enough to the field to opine beyond that). There's very little money in it, and it's much more in the fantasies of young lawyers than in the real world that doing an appeal is a separate and distinct practice from other litigation.

DC has some firms that specialize in it, largely as prestige practice and often associated with the supreme court. Outside of those boutiques and sub-groups in DC I'm not sure you're going to find much about it, and might get some weird responses if you look.

Again, I could be wrong about this since it's not an area I'm familiar with directly - but I don't think you'll come up with much looking for NY specific appellate firms.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby Elston Gunn » Sun May 05, 2013 3:49 pm

thesealocust wrote:Appellate litigation is kind of an elaborate flame, from the research I've done (not actually close enough to the field to opine beyond that). There's very little money in it, and it's much more in the fantasies of young lawyers than in the real world that doing an appeal is a separate and distinct practice from other litigation.

DC has some firms that specialize in it, largely as prestige practice and often associated with the supreme court. Outside of those boutiques and sub-groups in DC I'm not sure you're going to find much about it, and might get some weird responses if you look.

Again, I could be wrong about this since it's not an area I'm familiar with directly - but I don't think you'll come up with much looking for NY specific appellate firms.

I think I only disagree with this is in the way I'd emphasize it, not in substance (and I'm a 1L), but I don't think appellate lit is a flame. If you work at GDC, Jenner, Mayer Brown, etc. in DC and have a COA clerkship, you have a really good shot at doing a ton of appellate work. The problem is that you need COA credentials to be in that position.
And as far as I know, NYC has fewer appellate specialists than any other large market in the country, so OP, I don't think you'll find what you're looking for there, unless you know something I don't.

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jbiresq
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby jbiresq » Sun May 05, 2013 4:16 pm

thesealocust wrote:Appellate litigation is kind of an elaborate flame, from the research I've done (not actually close enough to the field to opine beyond that). There's very little money in it, and it's much more in the fantasies of young lawyers than in the real world that doing an appeal is a separate and distinct practice from other litigation.

DC has some firms that specialize in it, largely as prestige practice and often associated with the supreme court. Outside of those boutiques and sub-groups in DC I'm not sure you're going to find much about it, and might get some weird responses if you look.

Again, I could be wrong about this since it's not an area I'm familiar with directly - but I don't think you'll come up with much looking for NY specific appellate firms.


A lot of SCOTUS cases are taken on pro bono by the same lawyers who then, because of the experience, get hired by companies when they're in front of the court.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby Elston Gunn » Sun May 05, 2013 4:47 pm

jbiresq wrote:
thesealocust wrote:Appellate litigation is kind of an elaborate flame, from the research I've done (not actually close enough to the field to opine beyond that). There's very little money in it, and it's much more in the fantasies of young lawyers than in the real world that doing an appeal is a separate and distinct practice from other litigation.

DC has some firms that specialize in it, largely as prestige practice and often associated with the supreme court. Outside of those boutiques and sub-groups in DC I'm not sure you're going to find much about it, and might get some weird responses if you look.

Again, I could be wrong about this since it's not an area I'm familiar with directly - but I don't think you'll come up with much looking for NY specific appellate firms.


A lot of SCOTUS cases are taken on pro bono by the same lawyers who then, because of the experience, get hired by companies when they're in front of the court.

Yeah, there's some money in it. The Ted Olsens of the world make their firm $1 mil+ every time they take a paid SCOTUS case and $100K+ every time they write an amicus brief. And that's for really not *that* much work. It's just the actual SCOTUS bar is tiny (like maybe 25 people command that kind of money), and it's still nothing compared to what I assume firms make doing the more typical NYC litigation.

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jbiresq
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby jbiresq » Sun May 05, 2013 4:51 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:
jbiresq wrote:
thesealocust wrote:Appellate litigation is kind of an elaborate flame, from the research I've done (not actually close enough to the field to opine beyond that). There's very little money in it, and it's much more in the fantasies of young lawyers than in the real world that doing an appeal is a separate and distinct practice from other litigation.

DC has some firms that specialize in it, largely as prestige practice and often associated with the supreme court. Outside of those boutiques and sub-groups in DC I'm not sure you're going to find much about it, and might get some weird responses if you look.

Again, I could be wrong about this since it's not an area I'm familiar with directly - but I don't think you'll come up with much looking for NY specific appellate firms.


A lot of SCOTUS cases are taken on pro bono by the same lawyers who then, because of the experience, get hired by companies when they're in front of the court.

Yeah, there's some money in it. The Ted Olsens of the world make their firm $1 mil+ every time they take a paid SCOTUS case and $100K+ every time they write an amicus brief. And that's for really not *that* much work. It's just the actual SCOTUS bar is tiny (like maybe 25 people command that kind of money), and it's still nothing compared to what I assume firms make doing the more typical NYC litigation.


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/us/10 ... wanted=all

It's a tiny world and a junior associate sans clerkship is not getting in. As to general appellate practice, Jenner doesn't seem to have any attorneys doing it in NYC.

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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 05, 2013 5:55 pm

thesealocust wrote:Appellate litigation is kind of an elaborate flame, from the research I've done (not actually close enough to the field to opine beyond that). There's very little money in it, and it's much more in the fantasies of young lawyers than in the real world that doing an appeal is a separate and distinct practice from other litigation.

DC has some firms that specialize in it, largely as prestige practice and often associated with the supreme court. Outside of those boutiques and sub-groups in DC I'm not sure you're going to find much about it, and might get some weird responses if you look.

Again, I could be wrong about this since it's not an area I'm familiar with directly - but I don't think you'll come up with much looking for NY specific appellate firms.

I work in a firm with a strong appellate practice. I'm in NY and all the appellate work is in DC, I can't get my hands on any here at all. Those who are in the "appellate litigation practice" only do about 20-30% appellate work, they all went to Harvard or Yale and had prestigious COA or SCOTUS clerkships, and most of them know they'll never actually argue in an appellate court. They do research and writing which is good experience for litigation in general but it doesn't put them on a path to being appellate lawyers. Whether they stay at the firm or not, nearly all will end up being trial litigators who got a little appellate experience along the way. Maybe one of them will snag a state appellate case pro bono representing a prisoner who's going to lose no matter what, and argue it just for the experience, but that's not a career.

All the cases, even the pro bono cases, are argued by the partners so they can gain experience and maintain their presence in court. They fight with other top firms for the good pro bono cases for the same reason. Think of it this way, there are only 80 cases or so argued before SCOTUS each year, senior partners at top appellate firms fight for the right to argue most of those, and each of them might argue before SCOTUS for 2 or 3 days out of the year. They also go argue all the lower appellate cases they can to keep building experience and reputation. There are millions of lawyers already, 40,000 new ones graduating a year, a few dozen successful appellate lawyers who won't give up their spots anytime soon.

Appellate litigation isn't a serious career opportunity unless you have the balls to go out and hang your own shingle and fight your way to the top. That trail is lined with the shards of a thousand men's shattered hopes and dreams. You can try it if you want, but you should know what you're getting yourself into.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby TatteredDignity » Sun May 05, 2013 6:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
thesealocust wrote:Appellate litigation is kind of an elaborate flame, from the research I've done (not actually close enough to the field to opine beyond that). There's very little money in it, and it's much more in the fantasies of young lawyers than in the real world that doing an appeal is a separate and distinct practice from other litigation.

DC has some firms that specialize in it, largely as prestige practice and often associated with the supreme court. Outside of those boutiques and sub-groups in DC I'm not sure you're going to find much about it, and might get some weird responses if you look.

Again, I could be wrong about this since it's not an area I'm familiar with directly - but I don't think you'll come up with much looking for NY specific appellate firms.

I work in a firm with a strong appellate practice. I'm in NY and all the appellate work is in DC, I can't get my hands on any here at all. Those who are in the "appellate litigation practice" only do about 20-30% appellate work, they all went to Harvard or Yale and had prestigious COA or SCOTUS clerkships, and most of them know they'll never actually argue in an appellate court. They do research and writing which is good experience for litigation in general but it doesn't put them on a path to being appellate lawyers. Whether they stay at the firm or not, nearly all will end up being trial litigators who got a little appellate experience along the way. Maybe one of them will snag a state appellate case pro bono representing a prisoner who's going to lose no matter what, and argue it just for the experience, but that's not a career.

All the cases, even the pro bono cases, are argued by the partners so they can gain experience and maintain their presence in court. They fight with other top firms for the good pro bono cases for the same reason. Think of it this way, there are only 80 cases or so argued before SCOTUS each year, senior partners at top appellate firms fight for the right to argue most of those, and each of them might argue before SCOTUS for 2 or 3 days out of the year. They also go argue all the lower appellate cases they can to keep building experience and reputation. There are millions of lawyers already, 40,000 new ones graduating a year, a few dozen successful appellate lawyers who won't give up their spots anytime soon.

Appellate litigation isn't a serious career opportunity unless you have the balls to go out and hang your own shingle and fight your way to the top. That trail is lined with the shards of a thousand men's shattered hopes and dreams. You can try it if you want, but you should know what you're getting yourself into.


Shit, man. Consider the naive dreams of a would-be appellate litigator crushed.

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thesealocust
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby thesealocust » Sun May 05, 2013 7:13 pm

I once had a great conversation with a partner about how obnoxious it was for students to spend interviews waxxing poetic about wanting to do appellate lit.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby TatteredDignity » Sun May 05, 2013 7:19 pm

thesealocust wrote:I once had a great conversation with a partner about how obnoxious it was for students to spend interviews waxxing poetic about wanting to do appellate lit.


Haven't done that, at least.

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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby NYstate » Sun May 05, 2013 7:33 pm

One of the partners at Patterson, Belknap is a family friend,they seem to do actual appellate work,based on conversations we have had. Don't know what percentage of the actual practice it is - I know they do other IP stuff as well.

I don't know anyone at Jenner and Wilmer.


http://m.pbwt.com/practiceareas/appellate/
Last edited by NYstate on Sun May 05, 2013 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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thesealocust
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby thesealocust » Sun May 05, 2013 7:59 pm

Plenty of matters get appealed and law firms handle those appeals. What seems considerably less common are lawyers/practice groups/firms that specialize ONLY in handling the appeal, rather than the entire case.

I'm honestly fairly ignorant, but I imagine it's somewhat rare for a client to lose a case and then move the matter to a completely separate entity to handle the appeal (whether it's a different set of partners within the firm or another firm). Clearly it does happen sometimes, especially when it comes to the Supreme Court, but my gut tells me it's pretty rare.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby Elston Gunn » Sun May 05, 2013 9:12 pm

thesealocust wrote:Plenty of matters get appealed and law firms handle those appeals. What seems considerably less common are lawyers/practice groups/firms that specialize ONLY in handling the appeal, rather than the entire case.

I'm honestly fairly ignorant, but I imagine it's somewhat rare for a client to lose a case and then move the matter to a completely separate entity to handle the appeal (whether it's a different set of partners within the firm or another firm). Clearly it does happen sometimes, especially when it comes to the Supreme Court, but my gut tells me it's pretty rare.

Based on some half-assed research I did for a paper I didn't end up writing, it's certainly not the default, but it happens pretty frequently when there are enormous amounts of money on the line. That said, the true appellate specialists are a really tiny group, basically a small subset of those people who have COA clerkships.

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OutCold
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby OutCold » Mon May 06, 2013 9:36 am

Jones Day NYC has an appellate practice that works with the trial group to help position for future appeals and then jumps in later. Every person in the group has had a COA clerkship though.

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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon May 06, 2013 11:34 am

FWIW Jenner's NY office is tiny and from what I've heard, Wilmer's takes a distinct backseat to the DC and Boston offices. I'd be surprised if either of them is handling a substantial amount of high-profile appellate work. Though I could be wrong.

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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby Nynaeve » Mon May 06, 2013 12:20 pm

Mayer Brown NYC has a pretty active appellate practice as well.

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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 11, 2013 9:49 pm

As a SSC clerk (in a state with a lot of biglaw firms), the only people under 45 who are arguing on appeal are DAs/PDs (I also saw a young pro se guy once). Sure, a case you work on might go up on appeal, and you might get to sit at counsel table. On a big case you might see that firm's superstar appellate litigator, but otherwise it seems to be that whatever partner has the case takes it all the way.

Remember, by the time the case gets on appeal, a lot of the research has already been done and the issues fleshed out in whatever memorandum of law you submitted to the trial court.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat May 11, 2013 10:02 pm

What I don't get is why people so badly want to do appellate. It seems like you probably just do more legal research and less work on the facts. Why is that inherently better other than people think of it as more prestigious? (I mean, I guess there's less doc review, but is that really the motivator?)

NYstate
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby NYstate » Sat May 11, 2013 10:05 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:What I don't get is why people so badly want to do appellate. It seems like you probably just do more legal research and less work on the facts. Why is that inherently better other than people think of it as more prestigious? (I mean, I guess there's less doc review, but is that really the motivator?)


People want to make law. The stakes are high. Thinking of the best arguments is fun and challenging. The people are smart as fuck.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat May 11, 2013 10:16 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:What I don't get is why people so badly want to do appellate. It seems like you probably just do more legal research and less work on the facts. Why is that inherently better other than people think of it as more prestigious? (I mean, I guess there's less doc review, but is that really the motivator?)

In addition to what NYstate said, if you're someone who is more comfortable with research than with people, appellate is easier in that you don't have to wrangle clients (the same way as at trial) or witnesses or even opposing counsel leading up to/at trial. It may also be appealing because there seems to be less to learn coming out of law school (since you spend law school reading appellate stuff), compared to trial work.

Also, since when do law students need a reason other prestige than to want to do something? :wink:

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat May 11, 2013 10:20 pm

NYstate wrote:
Elston Gunn wrote:What I don't get is why people so badly want to do appellate. It seems like you probably just do more legal research and less work on the facts. Why is that inherently better other than people think of it as more prestigious? (I mean, I guess there's less doc review, but is that really the motivator?)


People want to make law. The stakes are high. Thinking of the best arguments is fun and challenging. The people are smart as fuck.

Yeah, that makes sense.

The thing that's confusing to me is that I assume most people at big firms are not exactly in line ideologically with their clients. I mean, if I'm a big liberal, I would rather protect my client from a single big employment suit than get a court to announce a ruling that no employment suits like this are legal anymore. But I get your point.

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thesealocust
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby thesealocust » Sat May 11, 2013 10:26 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:I mean, if I'm a big liberal, I would rather protect my client from a single big employment suit than get a court to announce a ruling that no employment suits like this are legal anymore.


This is the most painfully stupid oversimplification I have ever encountered on TLS.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat May 11, 2013 10:30 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Elston Gunn wrote:I mean, if I'm a big liberal, I would rather protect my client from a single big employment suit than get a court to announce a ruling that no employment suits like this are legal anymore.


This is the most painfully stupid oversimplification I have ever encountered on TLS.

Ha, okay. Yeah, it's probably pretty stupid.

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Re: Appellate practice in NY - Jenner and Wilmer in particular

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 3:11 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:What I don't get is why people so badly want to do appellate. It seems like you probably just do more legal research and less work on the facts. Why is that inherently better other than people think of it as more prestigious? (I mean, I guess there's less doc review, but is that really the motivator?)


It seems that in law, the most "prestigious" and desirable jobs are the ones with the least client contact and involve more abstract thinking and reasoning.




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