Post BigLaw Career Planning

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Anonymous User
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Post BigLaw Career Planning

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:03 pm

I'm still in law school (t14), going to a top firm in DC. It has sizable (and well regarded) litigation, regulatory compliance/gov't work, and corporate practices. I don't have to choose a specific practice area until after I've been at the firm for a little while, but most people seem to know what they want right away.

Here's the issue: I don't have a practice area preference - I just really, really want to do DC long-term. Second priority is eventually transitioning to a job that involves less hours (than BigLaw - I'm not seriously expecting 40 hour weeks), and then distant third after that would be pay.

I know this is vague, but would either litigation or corporate be suicidal? Could I do corp and then go in-house somewhere in the district? Focus on regulatory stuff and try to get into the government? Any kind of insight into long-term career planning to have a DC-focused path would be great.

Thanks! If you guys need more information I'd be happy to provide.

Anonymous User
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Re: Post BigLaw Career Planning

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:17 pm

[quote="Anonymous User"]I'm still in law school (t14), going to a top firm in DC. It has sizable (and well regarded) litigation, regulatory compliance/gov't work, and corporate practices. I don't have to choose a specific practice area until after I've been at the firm for a little while, but most people seem to know what they want right away.

Here's the issue: I don't have a practice area preference - I just really, really want to do DC long-term. Second priority is eventually transitioning to a job that involves less hours (than BigLaw - I'm not seriously expecting 40 hour weeks), and then distant third after that would be pay.

I know this is vague, but would either litigation or corporate be suicidal? Could I do corp and then go in-house somewhere in the district? Focus on regulatory stuff and try to get into the government? Any kind of insight into long-term career planning to have a DC-focused path would be great.

Thanks! If you guys need more information I'd be happy to provide.[/quote

Regulation might also lend itself well to going in-house. Companies in industries like banking, pharmaceuticals, food & drink, aviation, etc. would certainly value someone who understands their regulatory restrictions and environment. Anecdotal, but banks for example are increasing hiring for compliance in DC because of the glut of attorneys there.

I'm sure this is something you've thought of, but I figured just in case you hadn't I could point it out.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Post BigLaw Career Planning

Postby Capitol_Idea » Sun Apr 19, 2015 9:08 pm

Ooh - bump. I know there are some DC lawyers on this forum, any input would be interesting to hear.

Anonymous User
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Re: Post BigLaw Career Planning

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:33 pm

If you're primary consideration is exit options, I would stay away from D.C. transactional practices. There just aren't that many in-house jobs in D.C., especially considering the insane per capita amount of lawyers there are in the area. The glaring exception to that is government contracts. If you're at a firm that has a strong government contracts practice, I think that's got great potential to put you in-house in the D.C. area.

Overall though, I think litigation with a regulatory tinge is probably the safest bet, as far as long term viability. I'm thinking antitrust or securities primarily. Although litigators are at a disadvantage when trying to go in-house, those kinds of litigators are probably the most desirable of the bunch; each has multiple government agency exit options; and, of course, both practices are well represented in D.C. so you'll have many law firm exit options too. Being a litigator opens up a huge world of mid-small law firms that will take you, even if you don't have the subject matter experience they're looking for, because at least you know how to litigate. There are way more 30 man shops that litigate than there are 30 man shops that run capital market transactions in D.C.

Personally, if I knew for sure I didn't want to even make a run at partner, I'd do everything I could to angle myself to lateral to the FTC or SEC by year 4. Gives you some time to reap the BigLaw salary, but gets you out early enough that you can make a real career in government and, if you really kill it in government, possibly lateral back to private practice as a youngish (low 40s) partner in a lucrative practice area.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Post BigLaw Career Planning

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:13 pm

Also, some (most?) "DC transactional or corporate" work is actually more regulatory stuff. It's transactional, in so far as you are either getting approval for transactions/projects or are advising what the regulatory impact would be on a deal. Some groups do a lot of traditional corp work, but I feel like most DC transactional people are really just regulatory. And a lot move into government at the treasury, EPA, whatever regulates energy, etc. etc.

Anonymous User
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Re: Post BigLaw Career Planning

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:02 pm

Personally, if I knew for sure I didn't want to even make a run at partner, I'd do everything I could to angle myself to lateral to the FTC or SEC by year 4. Gives you some time to reap the BigLaw salary, but gets you out early enough that you can make a real career in government and, if you really kill it in government, possibly lateral back to private practice as a youngish (low 40s) partner in a lucrative practice area.


Curious to hear the lines of thinking around this; why jump back into private practice? Why hop back and forth? What are some of the advantages or disadvantages of these two sides?

RaceJudicata
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Re: Post BigLaw Career Planning

Postby RaceJudicata » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Personally, if I knew for sure I didn't want to even make a run at partner, I'd do everything I could to angle myself to lateral to the FTC or SEC by year 4. Gives you some time to reap the BigLaw salary, but gets you out early enough that you can make a real career in government and, if you really kill it in government, possibly lateral back to private practice as a youngish (low 40s) partner in a lucrative practice area.


Curious to hear the lines of thinking around this; why jump back into private practice? Why hop back and forth? What are some of the advantages or disadvantages of these two sides?


Why jump back into private practice? This one is obvious. $$$$$$$$$$$$$

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jewkidontheblock
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Re: Post BigLaw Career Planning

Postby jewkidontheblock » Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Personally, if I knew for sure I didn't want to even make a run at partner, I'd do everything I could to angle myself to lateral to the FTC or SEC by year 4. Gives you some time to reap the BigLaw salary, but gets you out early enough that you can make a real career in government and, if you really kill it in government, possibly lateral back to private practice as a youngish (low 40s) partner in a lucrative practice area.


Curious to hear the lines of thinking around this; why jump back into private practice? Why hop back and forth? What are some of the advantages or disadvantages of these two sides?


The hopping back and forth allows you to build your network of contacts and generate a bigger book of business than you'd have if you were to never leave private practice, also $$$$$$$$$$$$

Anonymous User
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Re: Post BigLaw Career Planning

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:40 pm

$$$$$ or watching the SEC lawyers take the early vre home. decisions decisions.




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