Prosecution to Big/Medium Law

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Anonymous User
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Prosecution to Big/Medium Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:53 pm

Has anyone done this transition?

I will be at a DA's office for the upcoming summer and working PT throughout the year with the possibility of getting a full-time offer as I near graduation. I still have a strong interest in Big/Medium law work. Is lateraling in with DA experience a viable option?

Similarly, I am guaranteed at least 3-4 jury trials (first one under mentorship, the rest are primary solo; felony/gross misdemeanor cases, primarily focused on gang related activities) over summer. Any opportunities to secure a big/medium law position as I start 3L year?

Located in a smaller legal market, but willing to move.

Anonymous User
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Re: Prosecution to Big/Medium Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:08 pm

A friend of mine was with the PD's office for about 2 years, then lateraled into a big law firm.

But she's really the only person I know/heard of who has done so.

And she had some great credentials (LR, top ~15%), and she chose to go to the PD's office right out of law school.

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Re: Prosecution to Big/Medium Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:19 pm

OP, here. So I would be safe in assuming that to lateral in I should have a resume worthy of getting a big law position in the first place, correct? (My primary goal for DA's office is for that litigation experience.) So, LR, top of class, etc. may be necessary prerequisites?

anon168
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Re: Prosecution to Big/Medium Law

Postby anon168 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Has anyone done this transition?

I will be at a DA's office for the upcoming summer and working PT throughout the year with the possibility of getting a full-time offer as I near graduation. I still have a strong interest in Big/Medium law work. Is lateraling in with DA experience a viable option?

Similarly, I am guaranteed at least 3-4 jury trials (first one under mentorship, the rest are primary solo; felony/gross misdemeanor cases, primarily focused on gang related activities) over summer. Any opportunities to secure a big/medium law position as I start 3L year?

Located in a smaller legal market, but willing to move.


It's definitely doable. Not the most direct path one can take in terms of Government-prosecution work into private practice, but you won't be a trailblazer.

Alot of it will also depend on what you mean by "biglaw" and what geographic location you are talking about. Certain "biglaw" firms in various cities tend to hire more local prosecutors (as opposed to Feds) than others. Same with midlaw, and don't think that just because it's "mid" as opposed to "big" that it'll be any easier.

Also, you don't mention how long you plan on being at the DA. Remember, after about a handful of jury trials, their value to private law firms has a steep diminishing marginal utility curve, esp. if the cases you are trying are blue-collar, street crimes.

Feel free to PM me if you, but without further details, that's the best info I can give you.

Good luck to you (and you may never know, you might fall in love at the DA's office, marry rich, and never have to leave the public sector).

EDITED TO ADD: Just realized OP is talking about summer employment. Disregard everything I said.
Last edited by anon168 on Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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stillwater
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Re: Prosecution to Big/Medium Law

Postby stillwater » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:32 pm

Definitely happens.

Source: Fracture.

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Re: Prosecution to Big/Medium Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:35 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Has anyone done this transition?

I will be at a DA's office for the upcoming summer and working PT throughout the year with the possibility of getting a full-time offer as I near graduation. I still have a strong interest in Big/Medium law work. Is lateraling in with DA experience a viable option?

Similarly, I am guaranteed at least 3-4 jury trials (first one under mentorship, the rest are primary solo; felony/gross misdemeanor cases, primarily focused on gang related activities) over summer. Any opportunities to secure a big/medium law position as I start 3L year?

Located in a smaller legal market, but willing to move.


It's definitely doable. Not the most direct path one can take in terms of Government-prosecution work into private practice, but you won't be a trailblazer.

Alot of it will also depend on what you mean by "biglaw" and what geographic location you are talking about. Certain "biglaw" firms in various cities tend to hire more local prosecutors (as opposed to Feds) than others. Same with midlaw, and don't think that just because it's "mid" as opposed to "big" that it'll be any easier.

Also, you don't mention how long you plan on being at the DA. Remember, after about a handful of jury trials, their value to private law firms has a steep diminishing marginal utility curve, esp. if the cases you are trying are blue-collar, street crimes.

Feel free to PM me if you, but without further details, that's the best info I can give you.

Good luck to you (and you may never know, you might fall in love at the DA's office, marry rich, and never have to leave the public sector).


Thanks for the insight. At the moment, I would plan for 2-3 years, max, at the DA's office. Why is it that there is a diminishing utility at play here? I thought that solid trial experience, especially with a jury, albeit with a different "mindset" (criminal vs civil) would be beneficial to a firm either way

stillwater wrote:Definitely happens.

Source: Fracture.


Yeah, but you have to look like Ryan Gosling. And sleep with a partner. (Isn't there some guy on TLS that hooked up with a recruiter, yeah, didn't work out too well for him haha.)

Anonymous User
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Re: Prosecution to Big/Medium Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:50 pm

I'm sure it happens, but rarely. The thing is, trial experience in the criminal context is different than the daily grind of biglaw. What is valuable to a firm is experience in that daily grind, or experience in trials involving issues relevant to that daily grind. Very few cases actually go to trial, and the cases that do involve extremely complex financial/securities issues. Even with white collar defense, my guess would be that the issues are fairly different than what local prosecutors do.

Anonymous User
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Re: Prosecution to Big/Medium Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:04 pm

I haven't exactly done this, but my practice experience has been BigLaw --> appellate defender --> BigLaw, all in the same legal market. In making the transition back to BigLaw, I only came across two associates in my major market with full-time state prosecution experience (though I didn't search exhaustively for people in this situation).

From talking to those two people and my own experience: some firms are open to it while others are categorically resistant to it. You will not have the same number of BigLaw options as if you had pursued only BigLaw all along. Whether you will have any will depend to some extent on the strength of the market and whether there are other factors in your background that demonstrate that you will survive and thrive in BigLaw (in my case, both past BigLaw experience and federal clerkship experience). You also may not receive 1:1 credit for your years spent in state criminal law, so be open to taking a seniority cut.

While anon 1:50 PM is right that criminal trial experience is different than BigLaw trial experience, the firms do value the in-court experience to a certain extent. In my area, many firms do three month paid rotations for midlevel/senior associates at the DA's office or the PD's office to allow people to gain this experience. So they think it's relevant to a point - but they're not going to think that three years of prosecuting DUIs, burglaries, robberies, assaults, and drug crimes translates into three years of experience doing the work they do - hence my recommendation that you be open to a seniority cut, particularly if you spend more than two years at the DA's office.




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