Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

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Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 27, 2014 8:20 pm

Necessary details: Rising 3L at a T10. Summering at a V100. In a major market. Grades below median.

I want to practice in a particular area, I know that already. I had few choices out of OCI, but my firm did what I wanted to do so I was reasonably happy. I arrived on day 1 three weeks ago to find out my practice group had imploded; most of the partners/associates have left the firm from that group and they are not hiring into it.

My firm is not strong in a lot of areas. I also have made a few negative discoveries: summer associates are hired into very fixed practice groups at the end of the summer, and oftentimes aren't even given offers in departments they want.

I already know I don't want to practice in almost any of the areas that the firm is hiring into, and summers are already gunning for the ones that are slightly more desirable. However, grades have come back and I didn't "kill" 2L year as I had hoped, so i won't be any more competitive as a 3L than I was as a 2L (which was: not competitive).

I'm starting to have the startling realization that I am going to be one of those miserable lawyers who was sucked into a practice area they don't enjoy and have no prospects for moving elsewhere. It's particularly frustrating because I know exactly what I want to do, have experience (professionally and in law school) doing it, but already feel like its too late for me. If I can't move as a 3L, then the only chance I will have to move is as a junior associate, assuming I get an offer. But by the time I'm a junior associate, I'll only have experience/credentials in a practice area I don't want to be in.

Does anyone have experience being in this predicament? What was/would be your course of action? I just want practice in an area that is fulfilling to me and is something i'm naturally interested in, and I can't believe that i have a year of law school left but its already too late.

09042014

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby 09042014 » Tue May 27, 2014 8:47 pm

How in demand is this practice area?

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 27, 2014 8:52 pm

Desert Fox wrote:How in demand is this practice area?


It didn't implode at my firm due to an industry-wide issue, i'll put it that way. It's not the most profitable practice area, but demand is steady.

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DELG

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby DELG » Tue May 27, 2014 9:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:How in demand is this practice area?


It didn't implode at my firm due to an industry-wide issue, i'll put it that way. It's not the most profitable practice area, but demand is steady.

3L hiring is tough, you already know that. All you can do is 1) get an offer 2) apply to tons of firms doing what you want and 3) keep looking after you accept renege on your offer if an offer pops up doing what you want to do. Network like crazy next year, talk to alums, go to ABA events targeting what you want to do.

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 28, 2014 11:18 am

Any other input?

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DELG

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby DELG » Wed May 28, 2014 11:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:Any other input?

What else are you looking for, a secret job posting site for 3Ls?

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby rad lulz » Wed May 28, 2014 11:21 am

Anonymous User wrote:Any other input?

Delg pretty much nailed it

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 28, 2014 12:40 pm

DELG wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Any other input?

What else are you looking for, a secret job posting site for 3Ls?


Well your advice, while helpful, ends after 3L hiring. I was wondering if anyone else had experience entering full time into a practice area they didn't want and how they dealt with that in their career. Since, as you say, 3L hiring is almost nonexistent, it is likely I'll be faced with this other problem.

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DELG

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby DELG » Wed May 28, 2014 12:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
DELG wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Any other input?

What else are you looking for, a secret job posting site for 3Ls?


Well your advice, while helpful, ends after 3L hiring. I was wondering if anyone else had experience entering full time into a practice area they didn't want and how they dealt with that in their career. Since, as you say, 3L hiring is almost nonexistent, it is likely I'll be faced with this other problem.

I mean it depends on what the practice you want is and its relationship to what you'd rather do

If it's a niche of litigation, not a big deal, get into gen lit at your firm then start looking to lateral into what you want

If it's Trusts & Estates you're significantly more fucked

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 28, 2014 12:46 pm

I know some people have been able to make the jump to a different firm and practice area after 1 year (e.g. lit --> trans) but they had to "restart" as a 1st year associate at the new firm and the new firm was hiring a ton of laterals. I doubt this is common or easy to do, likely it takes a lot of luck more than anything. You could try applying to other firms/practice areas early in your career and just hope, though odds are that probably won't work.

rad lulz

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby rad lulz » Wed May 28, 2014 12:52 pm

It'd sorta help to know what the niche is yeah

Is it something that pretty much only large firms do?

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby NYSprague » Wed May 28, 2014 1:11 pm

Please don't get ahead of yourself. You need an offer from this firm and you better think about how you can make it work. Imploding departments at a law firm aren't a great sign. Do your best to make sure the strongest practice group wants you.

Worry about your next job after you have this one.

My concern is that your unhappiness will be subtlety expressed even though you might think you are hiding it.

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby JusticeJackson » Wed May 28, 2014 1:53 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby smallfirmassociate » Wed May 28, 2014 4:12 pm

I don't think you're stuck. Take the job and get that paycheck, but look elsewhere for something in your practice area. You'll have to explain why you are leaving a firm so quickly, but I think that your explanation is satisfactory: when you accepted an SA position there, you wanted to enter Practice Area X, but they ended up not hiring for that Practice Area, and you still want to do that thing for a living. You can say you made an effort to work in Other Practice Area and see if it was a good fit, but quickly realized that you still prefer to do X and want to get into that field as early in your career as possible

It's not an ideal position to be in, but at least you'll be getting a paycheck and you only need ONE employer to want to hire you and to buy your story.

09042014

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby 09042014 » Wed May 28, 2014 4:14 pm

Step one is to pretend you don't want to do that old practice. I know at least 2 people who got no offered because their firm lost the practice group they aimed for.

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DELG

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby DELG » Wed May 28, 2014 4:22 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Step one is to pretend you don't want to do that old practice. I know at least 2 people who got no offered because their firm lost the practice group they aimed for.

I know at least one person who probs isn't one of your two

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 28, 2014 7:21 pm

Currently a first-year associate with your predicament. Got offered one department, asked for another and got turned down. Over a year later, stuck trying to leave a practice I've wanted to get out of since well before I got here. Honestly, it's hard to switch, and it sucks contemplating leaving law when you've barely begun your career.

Once you begin, give it a few months and, if you have a slow period, pitch a request to transfer to your department head in terms of needing hours/wanting to contribute. Hopefully the firm's staffing needs will accommodate your request. If not (as has now twice been my case), network with friends in other firms about their staffing needs. Head hunters won't want you, but it's worth reaching out to see if some will at least offer advice.

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 28, 2014 7:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Currently a first-year associate with your predicament. Got offered one department, asked for another and got turned down. Over a year later, stuck trying to leave a practice I've wanted to get out of since well before I got here. Honestly, it's hard to switch, and it sucks contemplating leaving law when you've barely begun your career.

Once you begin, give it a few months and, if you have a slow period, pitch a request to transfer to your department head in terms of needing hours/wanting to contribute. Hopefully the firm's staffing needs will accommodate your request. If not (as has now twice been my case), network with friends in other firms about their staffing needs. Head hunters won't want you, but it's worth reaching out to see if some will at least offer advice.


OP here. Thanks very much for this.

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northwood

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Re: Am I Stuck? Looking for advice

Postby northwood » Wed May 28, 2014 9:07 pm

Your priority this summer should be getting an offer at the firm after graduation. Once you have that, then it would be much easier to apply like crazy where you want to end up working/ doing what you want to do. IF you don't get it, then you have the offer in your back pocket.

As others have said, 3L OCI is very difficult at best. The closer you go to graduation the more difficult it is for places to hire you, because they know you will be using 10-12 weeks prepping for the bar, 2-3 days taking the bar, and a few days to recover from the bar- meaning you will not be able to work until August. Not to mention, firms that want to hire you during the year may be less likely to hire a soon to be graduating student over a 2L who has the summer potentially, and 3L year to work for them because they know that you will stop working when the bar prep starts.



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