What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

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What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:26 pm

Is it very rare for litigators to move in-house? Are there particular types of litigation that are more transferable to in-house counsel/AGC/GC positions? Anecdotes appreciated.

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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:02 pm

*Crickets* Anyone?

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OneMoreLawHopeful
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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:55 pm

Over time, I've become convinced that it's impossible to answer this question because there are too many variables.

On the one hand, posters with NY market experience claim it's basically impossible (look up posts by biglaw_associate_v20 for his view).

On the other hand, I have friends who made the jump from litigator -> in house after only two or three years with a firm, but with the caveats that they are all in the SF/SV market, and they have mostly jumped to the legal departments of tech startups, which may not be what someone is looking for when they say "in house," since a start up usually demands intense hours and risks (though I know 1 guy who got equity for joining a start-up's legal department, so the rewards can be great too).

Basically, how "easy" it is will depend entirely on your legal experience, what kinds of in house positions you are willing to consider, what part of the country you are willing to live in, what you envision an "in house" job entailing (e.g. Lower-pay-but-fewer-hours v. Biglaw-intensity-but-MBA-pay-opportunity), and a dozen other factors well beyond your control. For example, many startups face early lawsuits and need in house counsel with litigation experience, think Uber, but there is no way that someone could bank on "maybe a startup will get sued!" when planning out their legal career.

Since the match up between geography/industry/experience/need/job expectations/etc. is so variable, there can never be a clean answer to "How easy is it to jump to in house from litigation?"

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Actus Reus
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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby Actus Reus » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:12 pm

There are few litigation fields that are more amendable to in house work, such as antitrust, employment law, and IP. It's mainly that in-house work is generally transnational so their first look is at those who have done that work prior.

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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby sweeteavodka » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:35 pm

Actus Reus wrote:There are few litigation fields that are more amendable to in house work, such as antitrust, employment law, and IP. It's mainly that in-house work is generally transnational so their first look is at those who have done that work prior.


What about white collar/regulatory/FCPA type work?

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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby splittinghairs » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:46 pm

Based on my limited experience, there appears to be a healthy demand for compliance/ethics attorneys in-house. So a former litigator in white collar crimes/FCPA with knowledge of regulations would probably be more desired compared with other litigators.

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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby Actus Reus » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:48 pm

splittinghairs wrote:Based on my limited experience, there appears to be a healthy demand for compliance/ethics attorneys in-house. So a former litigator in white collar crimes/FCPA with knowledge of regulations would probably be more desired compared with other litigators.


That's true. Thought it's probably more internal investigations or compliance at large large companies.

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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:36 pm

OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:On the other hand, I have friends who made the jump from litigator -> in house after only two or three years with a firm, but with the caveats that they are all in the SF/SV market, and they have mostly jumped to the legal departments of tech startups, which may not be what someone is looking for when they say "in house," since a start up usually demands intense hours and risks (though I know 1 guy who got equity for joining a start-up's legal department, so the rewards can be great too).


What type of law were your friends practicing? Were they working in biglaw or smaller firms?

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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:On the other hand, I have friends who made the jump from litigator -> in house after only two or three years with a firm, but with the caveats that they are all in the SF/SV market, and they have mostly jumped to the legal departments of tech startups, which may not be what someone is looking for when they say "in house," since a start up usually demands intense hours and risks (though I know 1 guy who got equity for joining a start-up's legal department, so the rewards can be great too).


What type of law were your friends practicing? Were they working in biglaw or smaller firms?


Everyone I know who went in house came out of biglaw, and they practiced a mix of IP lit and regulatory lit (though probably IP heavy).

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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby GOATlawman » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:57 pm

OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
OneMoreLawHopeful wrote:On the other hand, I have friends who made the jump from litigator -> in house after only two or three years with a firm, but with the caveats that they are all in the SF/SV market, and they have mostly jumped to the legal departments of tech startups, which may not be what someone is looking for when they say "in house," since a start up usually demands intense hours and risks (though I know 1 guy who got equity for joining a start-up's legal department, so the rewards can be great too).


What type of law were your friends practicing? Were they working in biglaw or smaller firms?


Everyone I know who went in house came out of biglaw, and they practiced a mix of IP lit and regulatory lit (though probably IP heavy).


I knew quite a few people that have jumped from pure patent pros to basically being in-house patent bros. Seems like they took usually a pay cut for lax hours, but generally went to LARGE companies which constantly churn out hundreds (thousands?) of patents

Do you have any idea what the IP lit bros are getting comped at their tech landing spots? Ever get a pay bump? Or maybe if you include the package?

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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:42 pm

My understanding is that it's not much of a paycut if you get out early: 3rd year biglaw is only making $180, so a drop to low-mid $100s isn't as noticeable as the 7th year associate making $260 that has to drop to mid $100s.

I do know (or know of, one guy is just an acquaintance) 2 that got bumps up because they were able to get into a startup at just the right time, but they're far and away the exception. It took a perfect storm of: (1) startup was successful enough to start building an in-house legal department, but had not yet started the process, (2) startup was facing a bitter lawsuit at the same time, and (3) the associate had badly needed experience in not-quite-niche-but-not-super-common area of law that formed the basis of the suit. Definitely the outliers.

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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:32 pm

It depends heavily on your practice area. If you're doing data privacy litigation, it will be a lot easier to move in house than almost any other specialty of litigation (except maybe IP lit?). There are a shitload of data privacy openings compared to other lit specialties right now for whatever reason.

Securities and white collar investigations work will give you options in NYC, but the competition is fierce. I imagine that the competition may die down somewhat from what it has been, given the relatively smaller biglaw class sizes and increasing biglaw comp (bonuses).

Any advice I could give you probably won't apply to you, however, because everyone's experience is so individualized and unique that it's impossible to say generally what your chances are without you telling me a lot of information about yourself.

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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby Jchance » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:31 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote: If you're doing data privacy litigation, it will be a lot easier to move in house than almost any other specialty of litigation (except maybe IP lit?).


Can we discuss IP lit vs. corp for available in-house positions? Last I heard, regular lit vs. corp is like 1:20. Is IP lit that much easier to move in-house?

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Re: What are the chances for litigators to move in-house?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:27 am

Jchance wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote: If you're doing data privacy litigation, it will be a lot easier to move in house than almost any other specialty of litigation (except maybe IP lit?).


Can we discuss IP lit vs. corp for available in-house positions? Last I heard, regular lit vs. corp is like 1:20. Is IP lit that much easier to move in-house?


I think it's relatively easy for IP lit attorneys with tech backgrounds to move into IP in house jobs that may or may not be lit jobs. At least, it's much easier for attorneys who do not have tech backgrounds. I imagine IP lit is pretty similar to the rest of lit in terms of exit options if you don't have a tech background.




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