Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

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Anonymous User
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Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:13 pm

I'm starting work this fall and recently got a call from my firm letting me know that they decided after much deliberation to put me into a practice group that was on my list of preferences but not my top choice due to "firm needs at the moment." This alone would be frustrating, but what makes it worse is that I will be leaving to do a somewhat subject-matter specific clerkship in the next couple of years, and now I'm not in the practice group that would prepare me for it.

What should I do? What would you realistically do?

I like the firm a lot (though haven't started full time) and don't want to look flaky early in my career, but I also need to do what's best for my career.

Gorki
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Gorki » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:20 pm

Find a new job then? Have you secured this clerkship yet? How different is this practice area from what you planned on doing?

Seriously, if you do not want to do the work that gets your firm paid, then you probably will not like working there. In fact, you should also consider the chance that they coulda just done a stealth lay-off or told you the job fell through. The firm appears to be interested in having you there, despite the fact you made it clear you were interested in one of their weak practice areas.

The firm does not give a shit about your particular interests, especially if your main interest in them is to get some particular practice experience on their buck for a few years so you can give them the finger in and sail off to a different employer.

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thesealocust
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:24 pm

It's hard to say without knowing your background OP. If you wanted to do BK/tax/whatever because you have extensive knowledge there and hate all other fields, then maybe you should look for a new firm after your clerkship. But if it's just a preference and you have a blank slate type background... I'd stay loyal to the firm? Not like most of us have good info on which practice area to go into from the get-go anyway.

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koalatriste
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby koalatriste » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:04 am

My guess is that this is IP and the clerkship is fed cir.

Sorry, bud, you're screwed. I'm betting you were one of those people who LOVEDDDDD their summer and my firm was the best choice and greatesttttt fit for me blah blah. Welcome to reality! I'm also betting you've never worked a real day in your life because then you would have understood (prior to your summer), that you are just a number to them.

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IAFG
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby IAFG » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:07 am

koalatriste wrote:My guess is that this is IP and the clerkship is fed cir.

Sorry, bud, you're screwed. I'm betting you were one of those people who LOVEDDDDD their summer and my firm was the best choice and greatesttttt fit for me blah blah. Welcome to reality! I'm also betting you've never worked a real day in your life because then you would have understood (prior to your summer), that you are just a number to them.

U sound mad

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koalatriste
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby koalatriste » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:09 am

IAFG wrote:
koalatriste wrote:My guess is that this is IP and the clerkship is fed cir.

Sorry, bud, you're screwed. I'm betting you were one of those people who LOVEDDDDD their summer and my firm was the best choice and greatesttttt fit for me blah blah. Welcome to reality! I'm also betting you've never worked a real day in your life because then you would have understood (prior to your summer), that you are just a number to them.

U sound mad


I am mad. I am mad at law students who finish their 2L summers on cloud nine. And I am so thrilled when they realize how wrong they were.

anonymous2012
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby anonymous2012 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:14 am

OP,

You are going to need to specify what type of a clerkship. If you're in any litigation or regulatory practice, I think you'll be fine for your clerkship. Regardless of any specific practice focus, my personal clerkship experience tells me that it's more important to get litigation exposure, because those are some of the only things which stay the same from case to case. In every case, you'll need to verify all of the applicable law (unless you're doing routine motion work in a trial court). So while exposure to a particular area of law is helpful, it's not as necessary. And if you're at the appellate level you'll have fewer, more substantive cases to work on with less time pressure. Your clerkship is a learning experience. And if you really want a specific practice area after the clerkship, just tell them you'll only come back if they promise you x practice group.

If you're in non-related transactional work, it's unfortunate, but if you only have a year until your clerkship is over I wouldn't sweat it. Any experience practicing will help for your clerkship.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Stanford4Me » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:19 am

koalatriste wrote:My guess is that this is IP and the clerkship is fed cir.

Sorry, bud, you're screwed. I'm betting you were one of those people who LOVEDDDDD their summer and my firm was the best choice and greatesttttt fit for me blah blah. Welcome to reality! I'm also betting you've never worked a real day in your life because then you would have understood (prior to your summer), that you are just a number to them.

Nothing like a good cup of cynicism in the morning. :D

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Joe Quincy
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Joe Quincy » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:36 am

It isn't the wrong group if it was on your preference sheet.

Start at your firm, talk to your group head and the other group head about your concerns about bring prepared and ask if you can do some cross-work between the groups. Many firms allow first/second years to float somewhat between groups. Do not, repeat do not, attempt to get your group assignment changed.

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kwais
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby kwais » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:01 pm

koalatriste wrote:
IAFG wrote:
koalatriste wrote:My guess is that this is IP and the clerkship is fed cir.

Sorry, bud, you're screwed. I'm betting you were one of those people who LOVEDDDDD their summer and my firm was the best choice and greatesttttt fit for me blah blah. Welcome to reality! I'm also betting you've never worked a real day in your life because then you would have understood (prior to your summer), that you are just a number to them.

U sound mad


I am mad. I am mad at law students who finish their 2L summers on cloud nine. And I am so thrilled when they realize how wrong they were.


Why mad? What's your personal stake? Also, lol.

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Lwoods
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Lwoods » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:05 pm

koalatriste wrote:
IAFG wrote:
koalatriste wrote:My guess is that this is IP and the clerkship is fed cir.

Sorry, bud, you're screwed. I'm betting you were one of those people who LOVEDDDDD their summer and my firm was the best choice and greatesttttt fit for me blah blah. Welcome to reality! I'm also betting you've never worked a real day in your life because then you would have understood (prior to your summer), that you are just a number to them.

U sound mad


I am mad. I am mad at law students who finish their 2L summers on cloud nine. And I am so thrilled when they realize how wrong they were.


Sounds like a miserable way to go through life.


OP, gain what you can from the experience you're given, but continue to form connections with the senior associates and partners in the practice area that interests you. If your firm does practice-group specific in-house CLEs, maybe try to go to those, etc.

Don't sneak around, and don't try to switch groups immediately. Keep a good attitude and do good work because the firm made that call for a reason (likely because te attorneys in that group are already struggling for hours), but do the extra stuff to stay on the radar in case an opportunity arises. Because you have the clerkship, I don't think you run the risk of getting pigeon-holed in the other field like others without the clerkship might.

Keep an open mind and get what you can from the experience. Some of my happiest career moves have been the ones that just fell in my lap, whereas the things I sought haven't always lived up to my expectations.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:09 pm

koalatriste wrote:My guess is that this is IP and the clerkship is fed cir.

Sorry, bud, you're screwed. I'm betting you were one of those people who LOVEDDDDD their summer and my firm was the best choice and greatesttttt fit for me blah blah. Welcome to reality! I'm also betting you've never worked a real day in your life because then you would have understood (prior to your summer), that you are just a number to them.


I admit I occasionally enjoy the schadenfreude, but you're a legitimate piece of shit.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:10 pm

OP maybe count your blessings. By not going into a not-busy group, you might have lowered the probability of getting canned.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Stanford4Me » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:19 pm

Has Fresh Prince won a POTY award yet?

Anonymous User
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm starting work this fall and recently got a call from my firm letting me know that they decided after much deliberation to put me into a practice group that was on my list of preferences but not my top choice due to "firm needs at the moment." This alone would be frustrating, but what makes it worse is that I will be leaving to do a somewhat subject-matter specific clerkship in the next couple of years, and now I'm not in the practice group that would prepare me for it.

What should I do? What would you realistically do?

I like the firm a lot (though haven't started full time) and don't want to look flaky early in my career, but I also need to do what's best for my career.


My friend's firm did this to him. He signed up for lit and they put him in corporate. He seems to be looking to switch firms but 3L hiring is a bitch. Career counselor told him to suck it up. (I love career services.) Our lawyer friends told him that he could lateral out of the firm into his practice group as a first year...but what a waste of time spent in the wrong group and networking at a new firm a year behind everyone else :/

california2013
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby california2013 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:14 am

Joe Quincy wrote:It isn't the wrong group if it was on your preference sheet.

Start at your firm, talk to your group head and the other group head about your concerns about bring prepared and ask if you can do some cross-work between the groups. Many firms allow first/second years to float somewhat between groups. Do not, repeat do not, attempt to get your group assignment changed.


+ 1. Great advice.

Anonymous User
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:24 am

Any advice for this situation without a clerkship to segue? Asked to switch groups after my offer and got denied. Didn't do anything because I felt lucky to have a job and it's not like I had any idea if I'd dislike my area of practice, anyway. At this point, though, I still want to switch and I really have no idea how to proceed. Speak with a partner I'm close with in my desired group? I've had some friends suggest I begin looking to lateral, but I like my firm and I don't even know if first-year lateraling is a thing.

Anonymous User
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any advice for this situation without a clerkship to segue? Asked to switch groups after my offer and got denied. Didn't do anything because I felt lucky to have a job and it's not like I had any idea if I'd dislike my area of practice, anyway. At this point, though, I still want to switch and I really have no idea how to proceed. Speak with a partner I'm close with in my desired group? I've had some friends suggest I begin looking to lateral, but I like my firm and I don't even know if first-year lateraling is a thing.

You should try to network with partners in your desired practice group (at firm social events, etc.) and see if you can get work. I don't know of any firms that strictly forbid this (often it's necessary for associates to seek work in other areas if their group is slow). If you do good work, it's likely the partners will continue to go to you over someone in their group who does inferior work. But keep in mind that if you tell a partner in your group that you are too busy to take on a matter because of your commitment to someone in another group, that probably won't go over well.

You may want to speak to a headhunter and closely monitor aggregations of associate postings. It's tough to lateral as a first-year, but every year there are firms that will have an immediate need for a junior associate. In my group, for instance, all of the juniors were billing 250ish hours per month, and then one decided to leave, so we scrambled to find an entry-level/first-year and actually had a difficult time attracting qualified candidates. I'm sure if we recieved an application from a junior in another field of law who wanted to switch, he or she would have gotten serious consideration. That's not to say it's likely you'll be able to lateral, but there may be an opportunity.

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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:11 pm

Boy, I wish I had a job, even if it were in my third choice practice group. :?

(count your blessings, OP. Make the best of it, position yourself to do diverse work now and possibly change groups in the future, and realize how lucky you are.)

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ragelion
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby ragelion » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:38 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
koalatriste wrote:My guess is that this is IP and the clerkship is fed cir.

Sorry, bud, you're screwed. I'm betting you were one of those people who LOVEDDDDD their summer and my firm was the best choice and greatesttttt fit for me blah blah. Welcome to reality! I'm also betting you've never worked a real day in your life because then you would have understood (prior to your summer), that you are just a number to them.


I admit I occasionally enjoy the schadenfreude, but you're a legitimate piece of shit.

+1. Weirdly random hostility.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:57 pm

ragelion wrote:Weirdly random hostility.

...

Interesting.

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thelawyler
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby thelawyler » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:59 pm

Do they know about your practice group clerkship? If not, it might be worth mentioning it and then seeing if they could move somebody else. Because clearly after that clerkship happened, your "preferences" have changed. It doesn't hurt to ask nicely.

Anonymous User
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:27 pm

OP here. Thanks for all the advice and general friendliness (except for that one whiny little bitch). The firm already knows about the clerkship. I waited a few months after getting it because it is kind of far out, but thought (as you did) that it might help me get into my desired practice group in the end. It didn't. I have a couple facts to speculate on, not least of which is that work in the desired group is slow right now. I do feel a little wronged, however, because this is certainly not the impression they tried to give off during the summer.

While I still am considering lateraling before the clerkship, I am probably going to sit tight for now because I just don't think there's a market for first year laterals. The group I'm in is still in the same side of lit versus transactional that I wanted (at least), so I'm just going to try to be proactive about reaching out to do cross-practice group work. My only major concern with that is that, as someone alluded to, some firms might not like it if you say your plate is full because of your work in a different practice group. I have no idea how to handle something like that. I may just end up doing more work than other people (both the work I want and the work I have to do), but that's just how the cookie crumbles sometimes.

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manofjustice
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby manofjustice » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:07 pm

ragelion wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
koalatriste wrote:My guess is that this is IP and the clerkship is fed cir.

Sorry, bud, you're screwed. I'm betting you were one of those people who LOVEDDDDD their summer and my firm was the best choice and greatesttttt fit for me blah blah. Welcome to reality! I'm also betting you've never worked a real day in your life because then you would have understood (prior to your summer), that you are just a number to them.


I admit I occasionally enjoy the schadenfreude, but you're a legitimate piece of shit.

+1. Weirdly random hostility.


I disagree. Simmering class resentment cannot be restrained by good manners when resources are so scarce. I support the weird hostility--though it is weird and hostile, it is not random. Please note, however, that I do not adopt it. I just support it, on First Amendment grounds.

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ragelion
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Re: Got Placed into Wrong Practice Group - Now What?

Postby ragelion » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:14 pm

manofjustice wrote:
ragelion wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
koalatriste wrote:My guess is that this is IP and the clerkship is fed cir.

Sorry, bud, you're screwed. I'm betting you were one of those people who LOVEDDDDD their summer and my firm was the best choice and greatesttttt fit for me blah blah. Welcome to reality! I'm also betting you've never worked a real day in your life because then you would have understood (prior to your summer), that you are just a number to them.


I admit I occasionally enjoy the schadenfreude, but you're a legitimate piece of shit.

+1. Weirdly random hostility.


I disagree. Simmering class resentment cannot be restrained by good manners when resources are so scarce. I support the weird hostility--though it is weird and hostile, it is not random. Please note, however, that I do not adopt it. I just support it, on First Amendment grounds.

Go home moj, you're drunk.




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