Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

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Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:13 pm

I am a junior associate at a litigation boutique (at one of the handful routinely discussed on TLS). The firm pays on the biglaw scale. I went to a T14 (broadly defined), finished top 1-2%, did law review, and clerked.

TLS has been very useful to me over the years, so I thought I would pay it back some. Ask away. One caveat: please do not ask me any further specific questions about my background or my firm.

--Lit Boutique Associate

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Johann

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Johann » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:14 pm

Hours?

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:15 pm

How far down in the t14 did you attend? top 3, top 6, top 10, 11-14? I appreciate it.

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby runinthefront » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:22 pm

How were your undergrad grades? Also, did many judges/firms (outside cravath) ask for your UGPA when applying?
Last edited by runinthefront on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:23 pm

How necessary is a clerkship to get an associate position at your firm? Does it have to be an appellate clerkship?

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:35 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:Hours?

I am currently on pace for 2150. One of my cases is likely going to trial later this year though. So I expect to finish the year with more than that. For the most part, so far, the hours have been perfectly fine.

-- Lit Boutique Associate

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How far down in the t14 did you attend? top 3, top 6, top 10, 11-14? I appreciate it.

I don't feel comfortable narrowing this down anymore. For the purposes of my firm, besides HYS, these distinctions don't matter. You need top grades from all of these schools.

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby jeeptiger09 » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:40 pm

Exit strategy/long-term goals?

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:40 pm

runinthefront wrote:How were your undergrad grades? Also, did many judges/firms (outside cravath) ask for your UGPA when applying?

I have good, but nowhere near perfect, undergrad grades. No firm or judge has ever asked me for my undergrad grades.

--Lit Boutique Associate

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby fredfred » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How far down in the t14 did you attend? top 3, top 6, top 10, 11-14? I appreciate it.

I don't feel comfortable narrowing this down anymore. For the purposes of my firm, besides HYS, these distinctions don't matter. You need top grades from all of these schools.


I appreciate it. I am mostly curious if it was say at the HYS end of the spectrum or like a Cornell Georgetown end. But if not thanks for your honestly either way.

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How necessary is a clerkship to get an associate position at your firm? Does it have to be an appellate clerkship?

If you meet our grade requirements, you are likely very competitive for some (many) federal clerkships. So it is no surprise that mostly everyone clerks. It is possible to not clerk, but it would be unusual. The firm does not express a preference for appellate or district court clerkships. Both are very valuable in their own ways.

-- Lit Boutique Associate

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:53 pm

Do associates who clerk at your firm always clerk before working, or is your firm receptive to people taking a year off to do that?

Did you work between ug and law school?

Could you give a rundown of your day?

Thanks!!!

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:58 pm

jeeptiger09 wrote:Exit strategy/long-term goals?

I feel very fortunate: I really enjoy the people I work with and have been given interesting, albeit challenging, substantive work. My firm does not force people to leave. So, right now, the plan is to stay at the firm. If things change, I think the plan will be to leave for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

--Lit Boutique Associate

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do associates who clerk at your firm always clerk before working, or is your firm receptive to people taking a year off to do that?

Did you work between ug and law school?

Could you give a rundown of your day?

Thanks!!!


1. Most associates typically clerk before starting at the firm. The firm will try to accommodate associates for "gap years." (Because my firm has many former clerks, it is very aware of the changing clerkship market. They want associates to clerk, so they recognize that sometimes gap years cannot be avoided. But gap years do create issues with staffing.)

2. I do not feel comfortable talking any further about my background.

3. I can try, but it tends to be really variable. I tend to get in between 9 and 9:30 and leave around 6:30 or 7. I spend most of my days in my office reading or writing. I will usually devote the morning to more pressing assignments: completing a quick research assignment, responding to time-sensitive emails, answering any calls that I may have gotten, etc. I will devote the afternoon to more long-term projects: drafting briefs, preparing cross-examination outlines, working through expert issues, preparing slides, etc. My cases usually have a team conference once a week (or so). We usually have one or two (voluntary) firm trainings going on most weeks that I will try to attend.

Although most of my work is reading or writing, I have gotten a chance to do other types of assignments too. For example, I am working closely with our and plaintiffs' experts in one of my cases. I helped prepare our expert for his deposition and then got to attend his deposition. I likewise got to help prepare a partner to depose the other side's expert and then got to attend that deposition too.

--Lit Boutique Associate

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:43 pm

I just graduated from CCN with above top 25/below top 10% grades and am heading to a circuit court clerkship that isn't on a coast. Right now, my plan is to head back to the NY biglaw firm I summered at to do litigation. (They're band 1 and I really liked the people there—if I stay at a large firm, I'd want to stay there.)

Should I be looking at boutiques during my clerkship? If so, how does that process work/what's the timeline? Are there any in particular that seem like a particularly good fit given my background?

Thanks so much!

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:43 pm

What's doc review like at a lit boutique? What percentage of your time does it take up? What percentage of time do you end up working on something substantive?

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:04 am

Have you gotten stand up time in a court room? And if so how much?

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:I just graduated from CCN with above top 25/below top 10% grades and am heading to a circuit court clerkship that isn't on a coast. Right now, my plan is to head back to the NY biglaw firm I summered at to do litigation. (They're band 1 and I really liked the people there—if I stay at a large firm, I'd want to stay there.)

Should I be looking at boutiques during my clerkship? If so, how does that process work/what's the timeline? Are there any in particular that seem like a particularly good fit given my background?

Thanks so much!

Sure, happy to help. In my experience, litigation boutiques offer three primary advantages over traditional big law firms: (1) the opportunity to get more substantive work faster; (2) less hierarchy (you are more likely to be directly working with partners); and (3) less likely to be up and out. There may be some downsides in choosing a litigation boutique over a traditional biglaw firm: (1) more constrained practice area offerings; (2) generally worse staffing and other resources; and (3) less formal training. This is far from exhaustive. And I am speaking very generally. I am sure there are junior biglaw associates who work directly with partners and have gotten very challenging substantive work.

With that said, it's hard for me to answer whether you should be looking at boutiques. What do you want to do? What are you looking for out of a firm?
If you want to develop your actual legal skills faster in (perhaps) a more unstructured environment (where it may be easier to fail), it might be worth considering applying to litigation boutiques. But it's not for everyone.

It is even harder for me to answer which boutiques you should consider. Your credentials would likely not make the cut here. But there may be other boutiques where you are competitive. I am not sure if there is a good list compiled somewhere. I would start with the usual sources: Chambers, Vault, Law360, etc.

--Lit Boutique Associate

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:What's doc review like at a lit boutique? What percentage of your time does it take up? What percentage of time do you end up working on something substantive?

We generally do not do much first-level document review. We generally have staff attorneys or other specialist firms do the first level. We also inherit a fair number of cases that on the eve of trial, after all or much of the discovery has been done by another (big) law firm. My firm is not big enough to handle some of the more massive cases that require hundreds (thousands?) of hours of document review.

I imagine our second-level review operates the same (or similar) way as at other places.

By some random confluence of factors, I have not much if any document review (less than 2% of my total hours). But I think my cases are atypical.

-- Lit Boutique Associate

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:Have you gotten stand up time in a court room? And if so how much?

I have not had any stand up experience in a court room. I have only been at the firm for less than a year though. Other associates (who have been here a few years) have had those experiences.

-- Lit Boutique Associate

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Daily_Double » Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:18 am

To what extent did your co-workers clerk in your firm's area?

Also, would you suggest taking a gap year to be competitive for clerkships that require work experience?

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby MCFC » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:. I went to a T14 (broadly defined),

What does this mean?

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:18 am

MCFC wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:. I went to a T14 (broadly defined),

What does this mean?

It means OP went to UT because it was tied for 14th with GULC a couple of years ago.

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby nothingtosee » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I just graduated from CCN with above top 25/below top 10% grades and am heading to a circuit court clerkship that isn't on a coast. Right now, my plan is to head back to the NY biglaw firm I summered at to do litigation. (They're band 1 and I really liked the people there—if I stay at a large firm, I'd want to stay there.)

Should I be looking at boutiques during my clerkship? If so, how does that process work/what's the timeline? Are there any in particular that seem like a particularly good fit given my background?

Thanks so much!

Sure, happy to help. In my experience, litigation boutiques offer three primary advantages over traditional big law firms: (1) the opportunity to get more substantive work faster; (2) less hierarchy (you are more likely to be directly working with partners); and (3) less likely to be up and out. There may be some downsides in choosing a litigation boutique over a traditional biglaw firm: (1) more constrained practice area offerings; (2) generally worse staffing and other resources; and (3) less formal training. This is far from exhaustive. And I am speaking very generally. I am sure there are junior biglaw associates who work directly with partners and have gotten very challenging substantive work.

With that said, it's hard for me to answer whether you should be looking at boutiques. What do you want to do? What are you looking for out of a firm?
If you want to develop your actual legal skills faster in (perhaps) a more unstructured environment (where it may be easier to fail), it might be worth considering applying to litigation boutiques. But it's not for everyone.

It is even harder for me to answer which boutiques you should consider. Your credentials would likely not make the cut here. But there may be other boutiques where you are competitive. I am not sure if there is a good list compiled somewhere. I would start with the usual sources: Chambers, Vault, Law360, etc.

--Lit Boutique Associate


What's wrong with the credentials?
How important are local ties?

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Re: Junior Associate At A Litigation Boutique Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:26 pm

Any advice on application processes at litigation boutiques? Should cover letters be longer/otherwise different from the typical law firm mass mail? What do you think litigation boutiques look for once grade thresholds have been met?

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