I am a May 2013 graduate who was very fortunate to find a job in January. It is a small firm in a rural area and I do a mix of civil litigation, family law, and even some criminal. It is heavy on the Workers Compensation and Personal Injury work, but there are also some small business disputes and other interesting cases that come through the door. The good things about the job are that the pay is a bit better than expected, the workload is not too bad, my co-workers seem nice, the work is fairly enjoyable, and I will be taking depositions of doctors (simple cases, but still) and handling mediations within a few weeks or months. I am engaging directly with opposing counsel, etc. The bad things are a long commute and a salary that still isn't very good.
There are a few midsize insurance and Workers' Compensation defense firms in the bigger city where I live that have openings every so often for either general civil litigation, but mostly insurance defense, work, as well as Workers' Compensation defense. They pay 20-30k more than I am making right now, which is significant since I have a family to support. One of these firms just had a position open up, in fact.
My goal eventually is to see how raises and career prospects go at my current firm or try to get enough skills and experience to lateral to a midlaw or regional biglaw firm doing interesting and well-compensated litigation (for example I really like Labor and Employment).
My question is how the career prospects doing defense-side insurance or Workers' Compensation work would be different than the varied small firm work I'm doing now. These firms have 50+ attorneys, so I assume I would not be taking depos or something as soon, which is one of the perks of the job I have now. And I hear how "insurance defense mills" are terrible for career prospects. The thing is, some of the midsize insurance and Workers' Comp firms I'm talking about have beautiful offices and comparatively great salaries. It's hard not to be tempted by them.
If anyone has any thoughts to share on if someone in my position should pursue a job change at this point, and whether these midsize defense firms are a good option, I would be happy to hear the advice. I know the conventional wisdom might be "Apply and see," but I am still so shell-shocked from finding a job and filling out applications after graduation, and also it is hard to get time off to interview, that I want to think through my options before going back into the fray. I am also not sure how it looks to be applying for a job weeks after starting one.
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