Law Clerk Decisions

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Anonymous User
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Law Clerk Decisions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:58 pm

I'm a 2L who struck out at OCI with solid grades (top 25%) at a t1 respected regional school. I currently have a law clerk position at a small law firm doing Plaintiff side PI/Mass tort kinds of things. It's not a bad gig, I get paid well, work 9-5, very low stress, and the job will almost certainly extend into this summer and potentially after I graduate. A lot of law clerks have been hired on as attorneys after passing the bar, I probably have a 60% shot. However, I don't like the kinds of work that I do. PI work is inherently sleezy and I really want to work on commercial litigation or other similar transactions that don't involve people slipping at Wal-Mart or otherwise. Furthermore, if I do get a job it will probably pay around 50-60k which is easily serviceable because I will have little debt in a low CoL area. Also, this type of work may be a black mark on my resume.

I just recently interviewed for a law clerk position with a more well known and respected quasi-national firm that specializes in commercial litigation and various other practice areas including qui tam litigation, white collar defense, and civil litigation. I was offered the job on the spot. The job pays slightly more but the kicker is that they rarely hire out of the law clerk pool and the interviewer said there was only a possibility that I could work there over the summer full-time; although she seemed to hint that there would be a position as long as I do good work/don't screw up. Furthermore, it seems like it would definitely be a higher stress situation due to a heavy workload.

I have a couple of days to decide and I'm really not sure what to do. Any thoughts?

mushybrain
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Re: Law Clerk Decisions

Postby mushybrain » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:32 pm

I'd stay put at your current firm and then during your 3L year see if you can find an opportunity in the practice areas you'd prefer that has a better chance of leading to employment after graduation. I'd be very very hesitant to leave a firm with a solid chance at employment after graduation for one that has basically no chance of that even with better practice areas.

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legalese_retard
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Re: Law Clerk Decisions

Postby legalese_retard » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:41 pm

I recommend taking the second position. Even though it is a riskier option as a permanent job, I think the plaintiff firm will make it harder for you for future employment. It is much easier to start at a defense firm and move to a plaintiff firm than the other way around.

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Re: Law Clerk Decisions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:54 pm

legalese_retard wrote:I recommend taking the second position. Even though it is a riskier option as a permanent job, I think the plaintiff firm will make it harder for you for future employment. It is much easier to start at a defense firm and move to a plaintiff firm than the other way around.

Completely disagree. I have experience in the insurance defense world (which basically is what mid sized defense work is). You can move from plaintiff to defense, but rarely (if ever) the reverse.

Anonymous User
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Re: Law Clerk Decisions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:14 am

I think you should take the second position. I say this based on my own experiences. I also went to a strong T1 and was in about the top 20% of my class. Right now I am doing insurance defense (defending against those stupid slip and falls at Walmart that you mentioned). I ideally would like to do business/commercial lit. Luckily I was able to clerk at a respected firm for about 2 months that had a strong business/commercial lit reputation. I am having a hard time finding a business/commercial lit position but I am confident that without that brief law clerk gig with the business lit firm that I would have no chance at all. Firms want to see that you can handle complex commerical litigation matters. They want to know that you can do more than cut and paste shit from old briefs and other forms.

With that said, I would take the second position so at least you get some of that type of experience. If it doesn't work out you should be able to find some shitlaw job working at a PI firm or ID firm doing the same crap you are doing right now. The problem is, when you only have PI/ID experience you will be written off by other firms. The work is not complex and it seriously blows. I think you shake the dice and keep looking for positions during your 3L year. Kill it at the second firm, make a great impression, try to work for them during the school year part time, and spend your spare time looking for jobs. If you are already not thrilled with the PI work you are doing just wait until you have done it for a year.


Also in response to the poster that thinks ID= Midlaw, you are dead wrong. There is a huge difference. For starters, partners in ID bill at $200 an hour max whereas partners at a legit midlaw firm that does busisness lit can bill at $400 or more an hour. The legit midlaw firm does not do slip and falls, nor do they defend against them. They don't even do bullshit medmal or any of that crap. ID does not equal Midlaw.

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Re: Law Clerk Decisions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:26 pm

OP here. ^^ Exactly the type of advice I am looking for from someone with experience in the area. To be completely transparent, the current firm is known mainly for PI work and I occasionally work on that type of thing. However, I was brought on to form a Mortgage Fraud practice group and 80% of my work involves this type of practice. We still represent shitty Plaintiffs that can't afford their mortgage, but it involves some areas of commercial/business litigation albeit not the traditional types. I think I have been able to show potential employers that the type of work that I do is giving me more business experience than any sort of PI copy paste experience even though the firm is known for that.

After doing more research into the other firm, it seems that they do some commercial lit, but they mainly focus on other things like qui tam litigation and white collar defense. I spoke to my CDO and she told me to stay at the firm I'm at now because although the other one is better known, I am getting experience in a quasi-commercial context and thats what I want i'm interested in. She stated that it's the experience area that is the most important and not the name of the firm, especially since the newer firm isn't the most prestigious either. She also encouraged me to actively search for jobs in the mean time.

I also have interviewed with a major bank to work in house over the summer and another better known commercial lit firm. I think the interviews went well but who knows. I should hear back in the next 2-3 weeks.

Currently, I think I'm leaning towards staying at the PI firm for now because I don't want to take on a new job and leave after a month if I get a better opportunity. I don't think there is a real right answer here, I just don't want to make a foolish decision that will affect my career down the line. Sorry for the wall of text but I really appreciate and value the groupthink of TLS.




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