Question about choosing a practice area & switching markets

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adevotchka
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 4:50 pm

Question about choosing a practice area & switching markets

Postby adevotchka » Mon May 27, 2013 3:51 pm

So basically I've been living in NYC for around 4 years now and it's definitely not going to be a long term option for me. I'd really eventually like to move somewhere South/West with a better QoL (I have no connections), but I'm worried I'm not going to be competitive outside NYC. My school is regional and I landed a summer associate job at a well-respected NJL250 based here in NYC. The problem is that the firm is very much Northeast based so I have doubts about being able to transfer offices (assuming, fingers crossed, that I get an offer). Also, the firm is mostly litigation which was the practice group I expected to join.

I'm curious if joining a different practice group like real estate or bankruptcy will make me more marketable in smaller markets? If I get an offer at my firm, I would likely make my move as a mid-level.

Sorry if this was wordy, and any advice would be appreciated!

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thesealocust
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Re: Question about choosing a practice area & switching markets

Postby thesealocust » Mon May 27, 2013 4:39 pm

Call an attorney recruiting service / head hunter. They'll have an interest in your career / getting fees from you, but probably have better insight than anybody else.

Here's one I found randomly by googling: http://www.bcgsearch.com/

anon168
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Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Question about choosing a practice area & switching markets

Postby anon168 » Mon May 27, 2013 5:20 pm

adevotchka wrote:So basically I've been living in NYC for around 4 years now and it's definitely not going to be a long term option for me. I'd really eventually like to move somewhere South/West with a better QoL (I have no connections), but I'm worried I'm not going to be competitive outside NYC. My school is regional and I landed a summer associate job at a well-respected NJL250 based here in NYC. The problem is that the firm is very much Northeast based so I have doubts about being able to transfer offices (assuming, fingers crossed, that I get an offer). Also, the firm is mostly litigation which was the practice group I expected to join.

I'm curious if joining a different practice group like real estate or bankruptcy will make me more marketable in smaller markets? If I get an offer at my firm, I would likely make my move as a mid-level.

Sorry if this was wordy, and any advice would be appreciated!


No. Just no.

Switching practice areas (as drastically as lit to r/e) is a career cul-de-sac for a midlevel associate like yourself.

If you don't want to out yourself, pm me, but as a 4th litigation associate you should have some transferable and marketable skills to a regional west coast firm (eg Payne & Fears or Knobbe Martens). If you don't then you've got bigger problems than figuring of how and where to lateral.

Calling a HH is a good place to start like the other poster suggested.

Good luck.

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thesealocust
Posts: 8448
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: Question about choosing a practice area & switching markets

Postby thesealocust » Mon May 27, 2013 6:25 pm

anon168 wrote:
adevotchka wrote:So basically I've been living in NYC for around 4 years now and it's definitely not going to be a long term option for me. I'd really eventually like to move somewhere South/West with a better QoL (I have no connections), but I'm worried I'm not going to be competitive outside NYC. My school is regional and I landed a summer associate job at a well-respected NJL250 based here in NYC. The problem is that the firm is very much Northeast based so I have doubts about being able to transfer offices (assuming, fingers crossed, that I get an offer). Also, the firm is mostly litigation which was the practice group I expected to join.

I'm curious if joining a different practice group like real estate or bankruptcy will make me more marketable in smaller markets? If I get an offer at my firm, I would likely make my move as a mid-level.

Sorry if this was wordy, and any advice would be appreciated!


No. Just no.

Switching practice areas (as drastically as lit to r/e) is a career cul-de-sac for a midlevel associate like yourself.

If you don't want to out yourself, pm me, but as a 4th litigation associate you should have some transferable and marketable skills to a regional west coast firm (eg Payne & Fears or Knobbe Martens). If you don't then you've got bigger problems than figuring of how and where to lateral.

Calling a HH is a good place to start like the other poster suggested.

Good luck.


The OP is a law student, not a lawyer.

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Bronte
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Re: Question about choosing a practice area & switching markets

Postby Bronte » Mon May 27, 2013 6:27 pm

thesealocust wrote:The OP is a law student, not a lawyer.


Yes, although to be fair, it takes a somewhat close reading to determine that this is the case.

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: Question about choosing a practice area & switching markets

Postby anon168 » Mon May 27, 2013 6:58 pm

thesealocust wrote:
anon168 wrote:
adevotchka wrote:So basically I've been living in NYC for around 4 years now and it's definitely not going to be a long term option for me. I'd really eventually like to move somewhere South/West with a better QoL (I have no connections), but I'm worried I'm not going to be competitive outside NYC. My school is regional and I landed a summer associate job at a well-respected NJL250 based here in NYC. The problem is that the firm is very much Northeast based so I have doubts about being able to transfer offices (assuming, fingers crossed, that I get an offer). Also, the firm is mostly litigation which was the practice group I expected to join.

I'm curious if joining a different practice group like real estate or bankruptcy will make me more marketable in smaller markets? If I get an offer at my firm, I would likely make my move as a mid-level.

Sorry if this was wordy, and any advice would be appreciated!


No. Just no.

Switching practice areas (as drastically as lit to r/e) is a career cul-de-sac for a midlevel associate like yourself.

If you don't want to out yourself, pm me, but as a 4th litigation associate you should have some transferable and marketable skills to a regional west coast firm (eg Payne & Fears or Knobbe Martens). If you don't then you've got bigger problems than figuring of how and where to lateral.

Calling a HH is a good place to start like the other poster suggested.

Good luck.


The OP is a law student, not a lawyer.


My bad.

adevotchka
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 4:50 pm

Re: Question about choosing a practice area & switching markets

Postby adevotchka » Mon May 27, 2013 10:45 pm

Sorry if this wasn't clear enough; I'm a 2nd year law student starting a summer associate position. I know it's kind of premature but I want to leave NYC in the next 4-5 years, and I'm just worried that if I choose a litigation route, especially at a NJL250, I'll basically be limiting my options in smaller/non-NYC markets. I'm just wondering if this is the case and whether or not I should pursue a certain type of practice area like real estate/a specific type of litigation (maybe like labor law is more desirable in smaller markets?).

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Old Gregg
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Re: Question about choosing a practice area & switching markets

Postby Old Gregg » Mon May 27, 2013 11:09 pm

From what I've seen, litigation options abound if you want to go to another firm. They generally diminish compared to corporate when you look at non firm options.

That aside, from what I've seen, the most mobile practice areas tend to be employee benefits/exec comp and IP transactional.

Lateral2013
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 10:21 am

Re: Question about choosing a practice area & switching markets

Postby Lateral2013 » Wed May 29, 2013 6:17 pm

Your biggest obstacle will be your lack of connections in whatever secondary market you choose, not your chosen practice group. Firms in secondary markets are really interested in ties to the area for lateral hires. To overcome that, start making connections now. Meaning, when you work opposite someone in your desired market, be extra nice to them, keep in touch. Same thing with local counsel that you may engage in connection with matters along the way.

As far as type of practice, litigation and transactional are two very broad categories and both are equally in demand at different times and in different cities. However, you will never see a lateral opening for a "transactional attorney". You will see positions for very specific experience, such as "corporate associate with M&A and '34 act experience" or something to that effect. The only practice I can think of that is relatively localized to the NE is representing debtors in bankruptcy. Even then though, the skills and experience can translate into making you marketable for a similar position.

So use the summer to try both out. People who are meant for litigation will be miserable in transactional and vice versa. I would rather pull my toenails off than work in litigation, but I know many of my coworkers feel the same about the type of transactional work I do. Bottom line, don't pick a practice group based on portability. Pick it based upon whether you can see yourself doing it 18 hours a day for days on end.




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