Seeking insight from those who entered biglaw after 3+ yrs

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Seeking insight from those who entered biglaw after 3+ yrs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:33 pm

Anon because I'm a paranoid weirdo

I'm a gov attorney for a financial regulator (think OCC/SEC/Fed/FDIC/FTC...i know, very ambiguous) with three years of practice under my belt. I have the opportunity to make a move into NYC biglaw. I'm hoping I can get some insight from anyone who has made a similar move, be it from gov or other public sector agencies, or smaller firms.

I'm very interested to hear about the biggest day-to-day differences, the ease of transitioning into the firm as a young attorney (i.e. creating relationships with partners and other associates), the level of expectations on lateral attorneys, and any other pros and cons you can think of. thanks in advance, i'll try to provide more info if necessary.

mvp99
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Re: Seeking insight from those who entered biglaw after 3+ yrs

Postby mvp99 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:35 pm

Are you transferring as a second year?

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Re: Seeking insight from those who entered biglaw after 3+ yrs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:23 pm

mvp99 wrote:Are you transferring as a second year?


OP here, third year

crgoss
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Re: Seeking insight from those who entered biglaw after 3+ yrs

Postby crgoss » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:13 am

I transferred from the occ to Wilmer hale dc after three years. Happy to share my exoerience. Pm me.

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Re: Seeking insight from those who entered biglaw after 3+ yrs

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:37 pm

Sure. I did BigLaw --> government --> BigLaw, coming back as a midlevel litigator. I know several other litigators, including a couple at my firm, who did either government --> BigLaw or BigLaw --> government --> BigLaw, in all cases (re)entering as a 3rd through 7th year. I don't know anyone who did this from corporate, but most people in my professional circles are litigators.

Biggest day-to-day differences that I've noticed myself or heard other ex-government attorneys comment on:
- Much faster pace of practice/more intense deadlines
- Higher expectations, both from partners and clients
- More internal support/resources (assistants, paralegals, document processing, copy center, etc.) translates to lots of time you can reinvest in the actual substance of your work, whereas many of us as gov't attorneys were handling our own expense reports, creating our own tables of authorities, etc.
- Financial pressures in terms of how much time you spend on your work. In government, if you were a perfectionist you could invest the time to make your work perfect, and if you weren't, you didn't have to. Here, the client expects perfect work, but may want 20 hours of work done within the 10 hours they are willing to pay for.
- More generally/obviously, the billable hour
- Much less red tape to get things approved, e.g. around travel, trainings, reimbursements, etc.
- Obviously, much larger salary, more benefits, more in-office perks
- Less deference for QOL/personal life issues
- In some cases, less responsibility for attorneys of the same seniority. E.g., one person I know was first-chairing all their trials in government, and had a very hard time being the fifth or sixth most senior attorney on their teams in biglaw. They ultimately couldn't deal with not being in court all the time and went back to government.

Ease of transitioning into the firm as a young attorney: I and others have found that you need to allow a full year for integration and ramp-up. Partners may default to associates whose work they already know and trust, or who at least have a reputation within the firm. You won't. You need to be a self-starter in terms of identifying who you want to work with (both based on subject matter and by talking to other associates about which partners are good to work for) and pursuing those partners/counsel for work. EVERY assignment has to be treated like it's the most important assignment, whether or not billable, whether or not the person you're doing it for is really a "key" person you want to be working for. The key is to create buzz about your work, and every assignment is an opportunity to do that. (One non-billable assignment for a partner not in my office that far exceeded the partner's expectations had the partner raving about me ... to the very partners I'd been pursuing for work for a couple of months, until then unsuccessfully. They promptly called me with billable work.) Also, you need to integrate socially. Whether or not you're the kind of person who enjoys hanging out with your colleagues, plan to spend time with them over lunch and happy hour and whatever else, especially in the first year. It makes a huge difference.

Level of expectations on lateral attorneys: much higher than for juniors, but if the firm has hired you with a government background that does not 100% translate into the type of work they do, there's some degree of allowance made for that. (If, OTOH, they think you were at the perfect federal agency to hit the ground running, the expectations will be pretty high.)

Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Re: Seeking insight from those who entered biglaw after 3+ yrs

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:47 pm

Going from a couple of clerkships straight to biglaw and am watching this thread closely. Can anyone comment on the types of work and the expectations the firm might have for a third year who's been clerking for two years?

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Re: Seeking insight from those who entered biglaw after 3+ yrs

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:22 pm

Nothing to contribute, but also tagging. I'm a prosecutor who's going into a clerkship, and scared shitless about how laterling in is going to work or if I even can.




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