Effect of public service 2L summer on firm chances

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Effect of public service 2L summer on firm chances

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:35 pm

Are people (T14, median) who do govt (USAO, PD etc) for their 2L summer effectively shut off from biglaw? Does anyone who has had any success going from 2L public -> post grad biglaw have any advice?

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Re: Effect of public service 2L summer on firm chances

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:07 pm

I went biglaw --> public sector --> biglaw after graduation, so I can give you a few thoughts even though it's not the same scenario. My take: you're not shut out, but it'll be harder.

The easiest way to hit "reset" and get biglaw to take a second look at you is to clerk. This allows you to apply to biglaw as a clerk; given a good clerkship, you should get some bites. More, if you clerk in the same district as you practice and your judge is able to make calls to local practitioners who recognize his or her name. If you're a 3L with a clerkship offer, you can also approach firms about doing a clerkship summer. This is much harder if you don't have a preexisting relationship with a firm, but at the same time you have nothing to lose.

Other than that, here are a couple of the successful nonbiglaw --> biglaw moves I've seen in my major market:

- People who do trial ADA/PD work occasionally manage to enter a biglaw firm as a 2nd-4th year. The firm values their trial experience, even understanding it doesn't translate perfectly. They may take a class year cut to enter biglaw.

- People who go to midlaw and develop a specific area of expertise needed by the biglaw firm, then lateral as midlevels. I've seen a couple of employment and tax lawyers lateral to top biglaw practices in my area this way. Disclaimer: current midlevel and younger senior associate laterals (think Classes of 2009-11) have benefited from the fact that firms' homegrown classes were shallower than usual in light of the great recession. So there's currently great demand for experienced midlevels, and firms have been more willing to think outside the box than otherwise to fill those positions. Unclear whether this will continue.

There's also the matter of what you say when you get the biglaw interview. You want to have an explanation for why you were not in biglaw your 2L summer that is not defensive and that is not inconsistent with your being very committed to a biglaw career now. Sell your firms on why the public sector experience you have (esp. if you end up getting post-graduate public sector experience) is helpful to them and different than what a biglaw lateral might bring. (They're almost predisposed to believe the "government means greater responsibility sooner" narrative, so you can really play that up.) You also want to reassure your interviewers that you are not daunted by the hours and lifestyle of being at a firm, and ideally that you have experience with working long, unpredictable hours in your prior job(s). And then, you have to be prepared for lots of rejection. Some firms are not open to any candidate that's stepped off the biglaw wagon. But lots are. Good luck.

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Actus Reus
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Re: Effect of public service 2L summer on firm chances

Postby Actus Reus » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Are people (T14, median) who do govt (USAO, PD etc) for their 2L summer effectively shut off from biglaw? Does anyone who has had any success going from 2L public -> post grad biglaw have any advice?


you might not get a chance at biglaw, frankly. hiring is so particular regarding the SA pipeline.

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Re: Effect of public service 2L summer on firm chances

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:19 pm

I would't say you're shut out, but it makes it much much harder even if you have qualifications that would easily get you an SA as a 2L. Your options are basically 3L OCI and direct applications (small shot) or getting a clerkship. If you manage to get a federal government job after graduation (extremely difficult), you might also be able to lateral to biglaw after getting some work experience, but that shouldn't be a major consideration at this time.




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