Biglaw -> Government -> Biglaw -- AMA

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273167
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Biglaw -> Government -> Biglaw -- AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 31, 2013 9:14 am

Hello folks. Early 2000s grad here. Cum laude/honors/Stone from a CCN with a USDC clerkship. Five years at the non-NYC headquarters of a V20. Left on good terms for a family move. Five years with the government (non-federal, but reasonably well-regarded) in a different (much smaller) market. Now going back to biglaw -- satellite office of a firm right at the AmLaw 100 cutoff in the second market. I'll be at the counsel level with a 2-3 year partnership window. I'll be doing specialized litigation, which I had a lot of experience in government (though not the first firm -- I did a different type of specialized litigation there that is only vaguely related).

Ask me about litigating in biglaw, litigating in government, moving back to biglaw from the government, whatever. Shoot.

User avatar
thefuturenow
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 10:38 pm

Re: Biglaw -> Government -> Biglaw -- AMA

Postby thefuturenow » Fri May 31, 2013 9:37 am

One of the LS deans I talked to while applying told me that she had been a litigator in biglaw for several years before making the move to academia. She cited the unnecessarily aggressive attitudes of other lawyers and said that they take it too personal. In other words, the adversarial nature stretched far beyond the courtroom and often led to personal attacks outside of it.

Your experience?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273167
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Biglaw -> Government -> Biglaw -- AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 31, 2013 10:33 am

B->G->B

One of the LS deans I talked to while applying told me that she had been a litigator in biglaw for several years before making the move to academia. She cited the unnecessarily aggressive attitudes of other lawyers and said that they take it too personal. In other words, the adversarial nature stretched far beyond the courtroom and often led to personal attacks outside of it.


Funny, I was just thinking about this. I'll answer in part with an anecdote. When I decided that I wanted to try to move back to private practice, here's what I did. I called the people at the firms around town who I had practiced against and asked if they wanted to hire me. There was a surprising (to me) amount of interest given that I'm too old/experienced to be a typical associate and don't have a book of business needed for a lateral partnership. I was talking to the head of general lit at one of the biggest firms in town about it (they weren't hiring, btw). He said that he wasn't surprised -- I had a reputation for being both easy to work with (as opposing counsel) AND a good litigator. That's often hard to find.

The point is, if you're outside of the biggest cities (NYC, Chicago, LA, maybe SF, maybe DC) -- or even if you're in one of those cities and practice in a specialized or narrow field -- it's not that big of a professional community. There are a lot of repeat players. People talk. It's in your best interest to be friendly to opposing counsel. You don't know when you are going to need to call them and ask for a job. Or when they have business they can't take for conflicts reasons and need to refer out, or when they are representing a co-defendant, or whatever.

(Incidently, this is why I both love it and hate it when opposing counsel is an out-of-town lawyer from a firm in one of those big cities. Hate it because it's going to be a scorched earth case where everyone is an a**hole to each other. Love it because it is soooooo fun to win those cases.)

JusticeJackson
Posts: 454
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:26 am

Re: Biglaw -> Government -> Biglaw -- AMA

Postby JusticeJackson » Fri May 31, 2013 1:50 pm

.
Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273167
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Biglaw -> Government -> Biglaw -- AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 31, 2013 2:24 pm

B->G->B

If I go as a fifth year, and then I'm back on the marker to go to a private firm as a tenth+ year, how does my career trajectory look?


Pretty much like mine. You'll go back and have two or three years to show you're partnership material. If you don't make it, you may or may not be let go -- depends on whether the firm can support a career counsel/associate, and whether you bring any irreplaceable (or at least hard-to-replace) skills to the table.

One thing to think about, though. I was lucky in the sense that my government experience was focused in an industry-specific field, and firms were hiring in that field. It's harder to do that at a USAO, unless you consider "criminal law" to be that sort of thing. There are very few (for example) education or health or insurance lawyers, at least outside of DOJ. So you're going to be in one of two situations. The first is that you do criminal law and you come into a firm to handle their white collar/investigations practice. The potential problem with this is that there may not be a lot of openings there. The second situation is that you come out as a jack-of-all-trades civil litigator. The problem here is that it's really hard to attract interest from firms as a litigator without more of focus.

Will I be able to build a client network after doing DOJ for years?


I'll let you know how that turns out for me. One of the reasons I picked the firm that I did was it seemed to have a definite plan for building/helping build a practice around what I'll be doing. I wasn't going to be anyone's service "associate" -- they have clients who need a particular service; they didn't have anyone with experience doing that; now I'm that guy.

Any other thoughts?


Don't count your AUSA chickens before they hatch. You wouldn't believe how competitive those positions are these days. Partners from big firms are applying. Law professors are applying. It's reeeaaaallly hard to get an appointment absent connections.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.