3L considering BigLaw but no passion

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pyrochamploo
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3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby pyrochamploo » Sun May 19, 2013 3:23 pm

Hello TLS,

I am considering working in a medium to large law firm. However, none of the practice areas interest me. I am much more public service oriented but finding that work is tough right now. I could literally do any work, I just wouldn't be passionate about it. Basically the question is: Is it plausible that I could be accepted by a medium to large firm just by convincing them that I am competent?

My grades are above average, I have great references, my writing sample has been extremely successful for finding my 2L summer job, but my cover letter will be lacking. It will essentially say: "I have done x, y, and z and I can do your work without complaining." (but will obviously be well written).

Last summer: legal aid
this summer: government

Thoughts? Do larger firms care about passion? Didn't really think anyone had passion for big law, just big $$.

Edit: I should be more specific. None of the general areas interest me: antitrust, white collar defense, etc, etc that one finds in large firms. If anyone can name some firms that do civil rights or immigration please share. Maybe I'm just looking in all the wrong places.
Last edited by pyrochamploo on Sun May 19, 2013 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rad lulz
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby rad lulz » Sun May 19, 2013 3:26 pm

Mid to large firm boat has pretty much sailed bro so you in all likelihood won't have this dilemma

pyrochamploo
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby pyrochamploo » Sun May 19, 2013 3:28 pm

rad lulz wrote:Mid to large firm boat has pretty much sailed bro so you in all likelihood won't have this dilemma


Oh? Do tell. Is the only way to break in through summer associate positions? Or was there another way that I missed as well?

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Wholigan
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby Wholigan » Sun May 19, 2013 3:29 pm

So you are in your post-2L summer right now and working a government job? That will probably pose a larger obstacle to working for a medium to large law firm than any lack of enthusiasm. They do most of their hiring out of 2L summers.

pyrochamploo
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby pyrochamploo » Sun May 19, 2013 3:33 pm

Wholigan wrote:So you are in your post-2L summer right now and working a government job? That will probably pose a larger obstacle to working for a medium to large law firm than any lack of enthusiasm. They do most of their hiring out of 2L summers.


I am about to start my 2L summer position (rising 3L).

I was worried about that whole summer associate hiring thing. But someone else still encouraged me to apply through each firm's website. Waste o' time?

rad lulz
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby rad lulz » Sun May 19, 2013 3:33 pm

pyrochamploo wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Mid to large firm boat has pretty much sailed bro so you in all likelihood won't have this dilemma


Oh? Do tell. Is the only way to break in through summer associate positions? Or was there another way that I missed as well?

Summer associate positions is the way bro

A grand total of 82 offers went out to 3Ls from NALP firms this past fall

3L hiring at large and midsize firms is a joke

rad lulz
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby rad lulz » Sun May 19, 2013 3:35 pm

pyrochamploo wrote:
Wholigan wrote:So you are in your post-2L summer right now and working a government job? That will probably pose a larger obstacle to working for a medium to large law firm than any lack of enthusiasm. They do most of their hiring out of 2L summers.


I am about to start my 2L summer position (rising 3L).

I was worried about that whole summer associate hiring thing. But someone else still encouraged me to apply through each firm's website. Waste o' time?

If your grades are just somewhat above average at GW, it's a waste of time

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun May 19, 2013 3:41 pm

There are lots of firms that do civil rights and immigration, but they tend to be quite small or even solos and don't necessarily hire through OCI or hire people right out of school. The people I know who got these jobs out of school clerked for the firms all through school, and the firms are all maybe 10 lawyers or less. (One exception might be business-focused immigration firms, who help corporations get visas for their employees, that kind of thing - Fragomen does this.) Civil rights has quite a lot in common with personal injury law - you have to take quite a lot of clients and hope that one hits with a big verdict/settlement. Unless, of course, you want to defend cities/police departments/etc. - again, firms tend to specialize in this kind of thing and be small-ish. Probably what you'd need to do is identify the city/cities you want to work, and then search martindale for which firms do this kind of work. But it's not easy to break into these areas if you haven't done any work along these lines before.

Also, the whole point about cover letters is that you make up something about how the job you're applying for is the only thing you've ever wanted to do, ever. They're marketing materials, they're not supposed to show how you really feel.

pyrochamploo
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby pyrochamploo » Sun May 19, 2013 3:41 pm

rad lulz wrote:
pyrochamploo wrote:
Wholigan wrote:So you are in your post-2L summer right now and working a government job? That will probably pose a larger obstacle to working for a medium to large law firm than any lack of enthusiasm. They do most of their hiring out of 2L summers.


I am about to start my 2L summer position (rising 3L).

I was worried about that whole summer associate hiring thing. But someone else still encouraged me to apply through each firm's website. Waste o' time?

If your grades are just somewhat above average at GW, it's a waste of time



They're more than somewhat. I just assumed that I should say above avg if I don't have a 3.9 or higher.

Also, how did you know GW? Did I write that somewhere? Profile that I was so sure I hadn't filled out? Facebook stalking? Amazing guess?

rad lulz
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby rad lulz » Sun May 19, 2013 3:45 pm

pyrochamploo wrote:Also, how did you know GW? Did I write that somewhere? Profile that I was so sure I hadn't filled out? Facebook stalking? Amazing guess?

http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=177441&p=5608265#p5608265

Huey Freeman
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby Huey Freeman » Sun May 19, 2013 3:46 pm

pyrochamploo wrote:
rad lulz wrote:
pyrochamploo wrote:
Wholigan wrote:So you are in your post-2L summer right now and working a government job? That will probably pose a larger obstacle to working for a medium to large law firm than any lack of enthusiasm. They do most of their hiring out of 2L summers.


I am about to start my 2L summer position (rising 3L).

I was worried about that whole summer associate hiring thing. But someone else still encouraged me to apply through each firm's website. Waste o' time?

If your grades are just somewhat above average at GW, it's a waste of time



They're more than somewhat. I just assumed that I should say above avg if I don't have a 3.9 or higher.

Also, how did you know GW? Did I write that somewhere? Profile that I was so sure I hadn't filled out? Facebook stalking? Amazing guess?


You posted stuff like "Woot! In at GW. Much excitement." in some of your earlier posts

pyrochamploo
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby pyrochamploo » Sun May 19, 2013 3:47 pm

rad lulz wrote:
pyrochamploo wrote:Also, how did you know GW? Did I write that somewhere? Profile that I was so sure I hadn't filled out? Facebook stalking? Amazing guess?

http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=177441&p=5608265#p5608265



Figured it out about a second after I asked. Good sleuthing.

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Old Gregg
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby Old Gregg » Sun May 19, 2013 3:48 pm

OP doesn't deserve the Internet.

Anonymous User
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 19, 2013 3:54 pm

Yes... this ship has sailed - looks like you won't have to settle for a biglaw position. That being said, if you snag 'biggov' (e.g. SEC, DOJ Antitrust, etc.) you *might* be able to lateral later.

pyrochamploo
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby pyrochamploo » Sun May 19, 2013 3:54 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:There are lots of firms that do civil rights and immigration, but they tend to be quite small or even solos and don't necessarily hire through OCI or hire people right out of school. The people I know who got these jobs out of school clerked for the firms all through school, and the firms are all maybe 10 lawyers or less. (One exception might be business-focused immigration firms, who help corporations get visas for their employees, that kind of thing - Fragomen does this.) Civil rights has quite a lot in common with personal injury law - you have to take quite a lot of clients and hope that one hits with a big verdict/settlement. Unless, of course, you want to defend cities/police departments/etc. - again, firms tend to specialize in this kind of thing and be small-ish. Probably what you'd need to do is identify the city/cities you want to work, and then search martindale for which firms do this kind of work. But it's not easy to break into these areas if you haven't done any work along these lines before.

Also, the whole point about cover letters is that you make up something about how the job you're applying for is the only thing you've ever wanted to do, ever. They're marketing materials, they're not supposed to show how you really feel.


I have noticed that they tend to be small firms. Thanks for the info. I forgot about Martindale, oops.

How much do extra curricular activities count? Ex: Would a firm swayed at all by the time spent on legal research and writing for an on-campus organization that matches a practice area of the firm? Or, does working have significantly more pull even if I spent more hours on that extra curricular than work?

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prezidentv8
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby prezidentv8 » Sun May 19, 2013 3:57 pm

rad lulz wrote:A grand total of 82 offers went out to 3Ls from NALP firms this past fall


Holy crap. Knew it was low, but wow.

pyrochamploo
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby pyrochamploo » Sun May 19, 2013 3:59 pm

Oh yeah, what about that little thing called "networking"? Someone else told me that they networked their way into a firm without working there first. Rarity? Becoming more common?

Not trying to fight my way in to firm life. Just curious as to the other possible options.

rad lulz
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby rad lulz » Sun May 19, 2013 3:59 pm

pyrochamploo wrote:How much do extra curricular activities count? Ex: Would a firm swayed at all by the time spent on legal research and writing for an on-campus organization that matches a practice area of the firm? Or, does working have significantly more pull even if I spent more hours on that extra curricular than work?

That would be helpful if you found a large firm hiring in that practice area, yes

But like I said, midsize and large firms are pretty much done bro

rad lulz
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby rad lulz » Sun May 19, 2013 4:01 pm

pyrochamploo wrote:Oh yeah, what about that little thing called "networking"? Someone else told me that they networked their way into a firm without working there first. Rarity? Becoming more common?

Not trying to fight my way in to firm life. Just curious as to the other possible options.

It can work

But it doesn't sound like your network is very strong

Also those firms have to be actually hiring

Get on it bro

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Old Gregg
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby Old Gregg » Sun May 19, 2013 4:12 pm

I don't necessarily agree with others that the ship has sailed. That said, if you want to go after big/midlaw, I'd make that the small minority of my search. Cast a wide net.

rad lulz
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby rad lulz » Sun May 19, 2013 4:21 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:I don't necessarily agree with others that the ship has sailed. That said, if you want to go after big/midlaw, I'd make that the small minority of my search. Cast a wide net.

I don't think anyone would suggest he ought not to look

But if your primary concern is "will networking and extracurricular activities give me the in?"

Or "can I get a job if I'm not passionate"

It's time for a paradigm shift

Anonymous User
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 19, 2013 6:21 pm

I've talked to a hiring partner about this. Obviously, 98% of the hiring happens through 2L SAs. But, positions do exist though it varies wildly from year to year, so there's no way to know "Firm X" will be hiring 3Ls. Build a big enough network in your target market, though, and you have a better chance.

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Skye
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby Skye » Sun May 19, 2013 6:40 pm

I have no way to compare one year to another but I can definitely say that there is a lot of new work coming through the door every day. IMO this should widen the opportunities for more hiring, including 3Ls.

pyrochamploo
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby pyrochamploo » Sun May 19, 2013 6:44 pm

1. What gives you the impression I don't have a good network? Perhaps I didn't make the purpose of my post clear. I just posted a question about an option I was considering. I'm not solely going for biglaw and I do not have a lack of options. It's just hard to escape the biglaw mindset and part of me wanted to try if it wasn't going to be a waste of time. I had advice to "cast a wide net" and I think biglaw is part of that net.

2. I can appreciate a good "bro" now and then but the pronoun "he" is incorrect.

Thanks for the input everyone. Some of it was helpful, most of it solidified what I already thought: Most biglaw goes to those that were summer associates. But, like Fresh Prince said, the ship hasn't necessarily sailed.

Thanks A. Nony Mouse for answering my question about the cover letter. I think I knew that I had to convince firms that their practice areas are my passion even if that's a lie. I think I was just hopeful that I could write a basic letter explaining why my skills are legit and why those legit skills would help them and completely bypass the fake enthusiasm.

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dresden doll
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Re: 3L considering BigLaw but no passion

Postby dresden doll » Sun May 19, 2013 6:51 pm

Wait, if you're looking to do civil rights or immigration law, I'd be much more focused on just going into PI instead of seeking out firms that do this kind of work. Firms that do this are small and don't pay market (far from it). At least with PI you'll get the benefit of LRAP (if your school offers it) plus the PSLF forgiveness 10 years down the road.

I just don't see how a small firm would bring you much luck financially unless you're debt free. I wouldn't want to be making my loan payments on a 50k-60k salary.




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