Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

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Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:04 pm

Im wondering if I should just start building another year or two experience at a small firm. I have been lucky enough to get a couple of interviews at large firms, but in every interview, partners start off with "We are looking for somebody with at least 3 years of experience but we wanted to know more about you as your resume looked good." I don't have a killer interviewing skill so I usually get the silence after each interview.

It is quite disheartening to go 0/4 on all my previous interviews. What do? (FYI, im a median at T25-30 with good softs in a major market)

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby 1styearlateral » Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:14 pm

I've been told one year out is a little early and most large firm's weak staffing is in the years 3-6 range which is why most openings are for those class years.

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:15 pm

They do, but generally only from peer firms unless they have a very specific and pressing need you can fill.

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:They do, but generally only from peer firms unless they have a very specific and pressing need you can fill.


TCR. It's pretty rare to go from small firm to large firm that junior, because in theory, the preftigious biglaw firms will assume that your small law training was inadequate compared to their preftigious work. This is not true of course, but it's how it works. If, for instance, you worked at a small firm and got tons of trial experience or something similarly helpful, then...maybe. But in general, it's pretty rare to go small to big, and if biglaw firms are taking laterals that are below midlevels, it's from peer firms, as the prior poster noted.

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:00 pm

How does biglaw view courtroom experience? If you are a public defender and have done 80 trials in 2 years, would this be irrelevant because big law firms like to settle? Assuming the candidate has the same academic credentials as the usual hire out of law school, would she be competitive for white collar?

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:How does biglaw view courtroom experience? If you are a public defender and have done 80 trials in 2 years, would this be irrelevant because big law firms like to settle? Assuming the candidate has the same academic credentials as the usual hire out of law school, would she be competitive for white collar?


I think the issue is they don't really view small-time criminal trials as real trials. Also, nobody is putting a 2nd year associate in front of a jury so your trial experience isn't going to be relevant. They need someone helping with motion practice and discovery, not Perry Mason. Completely different story if you are former biglaw ->AUSA->Back to Biglaw with high-profile white collar prosecutions under your belt.

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby TheProsecutor » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:26 am

The posters above are right. You're too junior right now to move to a bigger firm. Also, you're not likely to improve your offer rate if you're not a great interviewer. As a result, here are some things you can do:

(1) Call your career services person at your law school and do mock interviews. Get feedback on what you're doing and how to improve.
(2) Force yourself to start going to a cocktail hour at least once a month. Go in and meet 3 new people and strike up a conversation. You need to be comfortable talking to people in order to have a good interview. If you don't have natural charisma, you can develop it by practicing.
(3) continue to keep in touch with the people who interviewed you. Grab coffee with each one at least twice a year. Keep them updated on your work and progress. After a year or two, express interest again.

It might take some time, but sounds like you're in a much better position than many people looking to make the same move.

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:03 pm

does this same logic apply to people in 2-year gov honors programs/fellowships? I would think the predetermined end date has to factor into a firm's equation when considering the applicant.

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby eastcoast_iub » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:14 pm

I lateralled from a mid-sized firm to a big firm as a junior. It is not too early to lateral and several people have lateralled from small or mid-sized firms to my firm. That said, as others noted, there are generally a lot more openings for mid-levels than juniors. A couple factors worked in my favor -- the group I came into had a pressing need; the practice area I am in has a dearth of experienced associates because it shrunk after the financial crisis; and I went to a T14 that has a strong presence at my firm. Most of the junior laterals at my firm were T14, and I think academic credentials matter a lot more for junior laterals than mid-level laterals, but I know at least 3 who were not.

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby nealric » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:does this same logic apply to people in 2-year gov honors programs/fellowships? I would think the predetermined end date has to factor into a firm's equation when considering the applicant.


Would probably be treated more like clerks, but with a stronger emphasis on academic background.

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:22 pm

eastcoast_iub wrote:I lateralled from a mid-sized firm to a big firm as a junior. It is not too early to lateral and several people have lateralled from small or mid-sized firms to my firm. That said, as others noted, there are generally a lot more openings for mid-levels than juniors. A couple factors worked in my favor -- the group I came into had a pressing need; the practice area I am in has a dearth of experienced associates because it shrunk after the financial crisis; and I went to a T14 that has a strong presence at my firm. Most of the junior laterals at my firm were T14, and I think academic credentials matter a lot more for junior laterals than mid-level laterals, but I know at least 3 who were not.

Ever see junior laterals from non-T14 schools?

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How does biglaw view courtroom experience? If you are a public defender and have done 80 trials in 2 years, would this be irrelevant because big law firms like to settle? Assuming the candidate has the same academic credentials as the usual hire out of law school, would she be competitive for white collar?


I think the issue is they don't really view small-time criminal trials as real trials. Also, nobody is putting a 2nd year associate in front of a jury so your trial experience isn't going to be relevant. They need someone helping with motion practice and discovery, not Perry Mason. Completely different story if you are former biglaw ->AUSA->Back to Biglaw with high-profile white collar prosecutions under your belt.


How should someone with this background try to maximize income? I guess big law doesn't make much sense for either side, because if you have a star athlete it wouldn't make sense to bench her and pay her to be something between a coach and a ball girl. I guess boutique litigation would be the way to go? There has to be some value in being able to win jury cases outside of hanging a shingle.

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:34 pm

To be fair, I'm a prosecutor but I'd be utterly lost trying to approach a civil case. Like, sure, give me a witness to examine, that's fine, but I don't understand anything about civil discovery or putting together a complex civil trial between two mammoth companies.

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Re: Do large firms ever hire lateral junior associates with 0-2 years?

Postby eastcoast_iub » Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
eastcoast_iub wrote:I lateralled from a mid-sized firm to a big firm as a junior. It is not too early to lateral and several people have lateralled from small or mid-sized firms to my firm. That said, as others noted, there are generally a lot more openings for mid-levels than juniors. A couple factors worked in my favor -- the group I came into had a pressing need; the practice area I am in has a dearth of experienced associates because it shrunk after the financial crisis; and I went to a T14 that has a strong presence at my firm. Most of the junior laterals at my firm were T14, and I think academic credentials matter a lot more for junior laterals than mid-level laterals, but I know at least 3 who were not.

Ever see junior laterals from non-T14 schools?


Yes, at least 3. All from Tier 1 schools at my firm (V10) were at least magna. Seems like you have something really compelling on your resume that is getting your foot in the door, though, so I think it's really just a matter of finding groups with a strong need. You may have better luck at the non-flagship, niche groups of any given firm.



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