How are mass tort litigation firms viewed?

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Anonymous User
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How are mass tort litigation firms viewed?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:52 pm

Are these firms essentially ambulance chasers? I have an interview for a position with a drug mass tort litigation/class action firm that has plenty of *giant* settlements in its favor. The firm only has about 10 attorneys.

But the firm seems to run on the back of one national-level attorney and the rest of the attorneys there aren't exactly T14 (I'm not, either). I'm not thrilled with class actions or litigation in general, I want to do transactional work, but I'm a 3L without much on the horizon.

(Right now, I'm networking with partners at V100 firms, and I'm hoping something comes of it. A V100 firm invited me into their office for about 4 hours just to talk about my future with 6 of their partners, still waiting for networking fallout. I think they would think I could do better.)

Would a firm like this look bad on my resume, essentially, is my question. I'm probably going to have start an internship there immediately, if they take me. And there's an understanding it could lead to a full time offer.

Edit: also, despite these giant settlements, I'm assuming the associates of these firms still get paid practically nothing?

smallfirmassociate
Posts: 387
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:47 pm

Re: How are mass tort litigation firms viewed?

Postby smallfirmassociate » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Are these firms essentially ambulance chasers? I have an interview for a position with a drug mass tort litigation/class action firm that has plenty of *giant* settlements in its favor. The firm only has about 10 attorneys.

But the firm seems to run on the back of one national-level attorney and the rest of the attorneys there aren't exactly T14 (I'm not, either). I'm not thrilled with class actions or litigation in general, I want to do transactional work, but I'm a 3L without much on the horizon.

(Right now, I'm networking with partners at V100 firms, and I'm hoping something comes of it. A V100 firm invited me into their office for about 4 hours just to talk about my future with 6 of their partners, still waiting for networking fallout. I think they would think I could do better.)

Would a firm like this look bad on my resume, essentially, is my question. I'm probably going to have start an internship there immediately, if they take me. And there's an understanding it could lead to a full time offer.

Edit: also, despite these giant settlements, I'm assuming the associates of these firms still get paid practically nothing?


I have friends, including a very close one, who do this work. The close friend does it from the defense side, however. From what I gather, it can be tedious and repetitive. Does it involve a lot of travel for depositions and hearings all over the country on jurisdictional spats and motions to dismiss individual plaintiffs? That might be a question worth asking if you're not willing to do that.

Lots of motions to dismiss certain plaintiffs, lots of depos, lots of discovery. To be honest, I see it as you basically spend the majority of your time working on the worst parts of litigation. Not a ton of substantive law or novel concepts being argued here.

The work is definitely less prestigious and has a definite "second-tier" feel to it, which my friend acknowledges. But he kind of likes the work, or tolerates it, and if you're the type of person who likes depos, settlement negotiations, arguing motions, travel (if applicable), handling a lot of different cases (or at least plaintiffs) and digging through facts on all of them, it can be rewarding. There is money in it at the higher levels.

Pay tends to be below market. In a lot of non-NYC markets, you might pull $45k - $70k to start. There's room for raises as a senior associate.

You raise a concern that would be my biggest: I'd be worried about being pigeonholed in the field or having my resume somewhat tainted. BUT it's legal work, and it pays, and take it if you have to.

SmallLawGuy
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Re: How are mass tort litigation firms viewed?

Postby SmallLawGuy » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:10 pm

smallfirmassociate wrote:I have friends, including a very close one, who do this work. The close friend does it from the defense side, however. From what I gather, it can be tedious and repetitive. Does it involve a lot of travel for depositions and hearings all over the country on jurisdictional spats and motions to dismiss individual plaintiffs? That might be a question worth asking if you're not willing to do that.

Lots of motions to dismiss certain plaintiffs, lots of depos, lots of discovery. To be honest, I see it as you basically spend the majority of your time working on the worst parts of litigation. Not a ton of substantive law or novel concepts being argued here.

The work is definitely less prestigious and has a definite "second-tier" feel to it, which my friend acknowledges. But he kind of likes the work, or tolerates it, and if you're the type of person who likes depos, settlement negotiations, arguing motions, travel (if applicable), handling a lot of different cases (or at least plaintiffs) and digging through facts on all of them, it can be rewarding. There is money in it at the higher levels.

Pay tends to be below market. In a lot of non-NYC markets, you might pull $45k - $70k to start. There's room for raises as a senior associate.

You raise a concern that would be my biggest: I'd be worried about being pigeonholed in the field or having my resume somewhat tainted. BUT it's legal work, and it pays, and take it if you have to.


Credited. I would add that an internship likely wouldn't have the pigeonholing effect described above. At this level, it's a stop on your career, but not the destination.

mirage1287
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:23 pm

Re: How are mass tort litigation firms viewed?

Postby mirage1287 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:23 pm

You can take the internship and keep looking for other jobs/networking at the same time. You're not necessarily pigeon-holed just by clerking there during your 3L year. You're not exactly in a great position as an unemployed 3L and the market is rough - an internship that has a potential at a decent job is better than holding out for an "opportunity" with this biglaw firm that hasn't materialized yet.




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