Moving from Public to Private Law

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PassionvMoney

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Moving from Public to Private Law

Postby PassionvMoney » Sun May 01, 2016 1:56 am

So I have a question. I have 2 years experience as an ADA (misdemeanors and felonies) and one year as an Assistant City Attorney (mostly tort but some 1983 cases). I'm 3 years into my career as an attorney and I'm considering what to do with the rest of my career. The informal rule is 3-5 years as a government attorney then decide if your career is going to be in govt or private law.

So I'll start off, I have enjoyed being a DA far more than an Assistant City Attorney as being a DA I get to control cases far more. if I want to take a First Degree Felony to trial it is up to me. As a City Attorney I've had to deal with more red tape (present to my boss and the mayor a case and tell them whether we should go to trial or not then they decide) so far less control over a case. So of course the power and discretion as a DA is more appealing. As a City Attorney I've done mediation, trial, depositions, answer discovery (I was in the litigation department of a medium City Attorney office, City of about a Million People). I'm now at the point where it is nut cutting time to decide if I go for the money in private practice which would be civil litigation for me, I don't care if it is plaintiff or defense, or stay in government as a prosecutor and try for a State Attorney General then in a few years AUSA attorney position.

I've got no kid, no wife and no real family. In 2 months the only debt I'll have is federal student loan debt which what I pay in I mostly get back as tax credit when tax season comes so it is a wash and I'll get total forgiveness on in 7 years anyway. There's no immediate financial reason to go private (such as a pregnant wife or a kid to support).

I'm caught between a few factors. As a single guy I can live comfortably on what I make (and especially what I can make) in govt working 40 hours a week. However, since I have no family part of me thinks "why not go private, go work 60-70 hours a week, you are single and young so nothing else really better to do than bill and make money". But the other part of me says "why work for all this money when all you will do is buy more stuff that you don't really need and have no family to spend it on so it will likely to go things you don't need or go toward long term investments which as a single guy you don't need that much anyway".

I'm not going to marry a woman unless she makes as much or more than me and I have no desire for children. So no reason to acquire wealth outside what I want/need for myself.

So what should I do? Try to get a private job and just make the money for a few years or stick with the govt job I like? I'm leaning toward just going for a private gig for 3 years and saving money then going back to being a prosecutor in some capacity. Thoughts?

kcdc1

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Re: Moving from Public to Private Law

Postby kcdc1 » Sun May 01, 2016 7:28 am

I'm not going to marry a woman unless she makes as much or more than me.

I love this principled stand against unequal pay for women. If they can't get their careers together, we'll just stop marrying them.

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kellyfrost

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Re: Moving from Public to Private Law

Postby kellyfrost » Sun May 01, 2016 11:20 am

kcdc1 wrote:
I'm not going to marry a woman unless she makes as much or more than me.

I love this principled stand against unequal pay for women. If they can't get their careers together, we'll just stop marrying them.


OP -- this is actually a really good belief and idea.

kcdc1: OP might be on to something.
Last edited by kellyfrost on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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swampman

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Re: Moving from Public to Private Law

Postby swampman » Sun May 01, 2016 12:08 pm

This depends entirely on what your options in private practice are. You're pooling all civil lit jobs together, but the differences between insurance defense, plaintiffs work, complex litigation, etc., are huge. You need to figure out what your actual options are.

PassionvMoney

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Re: Moving from Public to Private Law

Postby PassionvMoney » Sun May 01, 2016 12:23 pm

swampman wrote:This depends entirely on what your options in private practice are. You're pooling all civil lit jobs together, but the differences between insurance defense, plaintiffs work, complex litigation, etc., are huge. You need to figure out what your actual options are.


Fair enough. I'd say right now more my interest (due to exposure and experience) is insurance defense and plaintiff work. Most of the litigation defense firms I'm looking at would start me doing more insurance Defense then after a time I could try taking on other areas, such as complex litigation. I don't have much interest in say, natural resource law, despite my law review experience in it.

One area I have some interest is family law but I'm not sure if I want to devote 2-3 years to that as I think that's an area I need to dive into fully if I were to go that route. So for now we will go with general civil litigation more in the insurance defense and plaintiff work area. My question still stands though.

As for the quote about the wife, I don't want to take this thread off the tracks so lets just say I included that to head off any arguments about "what if you get married in the future and need money" arguments. I wanted to make it clear that isn't a consideration for me.

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ClubberLang

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Re: Moving from Public to Private Law

Postby ClubberLang » Mon May 02, 2016 2:25 pm

Have you gotten offers from any other places yet? By the sounds of it, I'd be surprised if the firms you are looking at pay much more than your government gig. Also, how will you get total loan forgiveness if you move out of public interest?

misterjames

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Re: Moving from Public to Private Law

Postby misterjames » Mon May 02, 2016 5:17 pm

ClubberLang wrote:Have you gotten offers from any other places yet? By the sounds of it, I'd be surprised if the firms you are looking at pay much more than your government gig. Also, how will you get total loan forgiveness if you move out of public interest?


titcr. OP, until you actually know what your options are in the private sector, this discussion is kind of pointless. without more details on location it's hard to tell what your prospects are. if your ADA and ACA positions are in NYC, you'll fair far better than if it was Podunk no-mans land in a random flyover (I'm being hyperbolic but you get the point).

also, as a random aside, have you considered whistleblower representation?

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