Help Me Save My Career

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Hopefullitassociate

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Help Me Save My Career

Postby Hopefullitassociate » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:15 pm

Hey everyone! Having quite an issue with my (still very young) career and Im looking for guidance.

I went to law school to do litigation. Went to a T14, worked biglaw last summer, and was assured that I would get litigation. However, I just found out that I will be placed in a smaller corporate department due to the firm's needs. I totally understand that new york work is transactional-focused, but I really did not like the corporate work I did last summer, and I think I would be completely miserable doing corporate work. I loved the firm and the people in it though.

Basically, I'm looking to make a pivot to litigation to save my career. My plan is to work as hard as I can with my assignments at my firm, but do as much pro bono work as possible to get litigation experience. I'm also beginning the clerkship application process, but I feel both behind and underqualified. I'm CCN, but only a bit above median, didn't take fed courts, and my recommendations won't be super strong. However, I am from the midwest, and would not mind going there for a clerkship. I'm even fine with state court clerkships, if that will help me get my foot back into litigation. I'm not picky. I really just want to do something so that I'm not doing corporate work for the rest of my career.

Any other advice from people? How long do I have until I'm completely pigeon-holed into corporate work? Thank you all so much.

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rpupkin

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby rpupkin » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:19 pm

I'm confused by your post. What is your situation now? Are you a 3L? Or are you a grad who is about to start as a first-year associate?
Last edited by rpupkin on Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hopefullitassociate

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby Hopefullitassociate » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:20 pm

Sorry, grad about to start as a first year associate

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rpupkin

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby rpupkin » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:22 pm

Apply broadly now to every big law firm that has a decent litigation practice. Explain in your cover letter why you're applying now; explain what happened at the firm at which you're about to start.

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ArtistOfManliness

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:23 pm

rpupkin wrote:Apply broadly now to every big law firm that has a decent litigation practice. Explain in your cover letter why you're applying now; explain what happened at the firm at which you're about to start.

Hopefullitassociate

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby Hopefullitassociate » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:23 pm

rpupkin wrote:Apply broadly now to every big law firm that has a decent litigation practice. Explain in your cover letter why you're applying now; explain what happened at the firm at which you're about to start.


Would this be for this year or next year? And if the latter should I put that I would be willing to start out on the pay scale of a first year associate despite my one year at my current firm?

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rpupkin

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby rpupkin » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:25 pm

Hopefullitassociate wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Apply broadly now to every big law firm that has a decent litigation practice. Explain in your cover letter why you're applying now; explain what happened at the firm at which you're about to start.


Would this be for this year or next year? And if the latter should I put that I would be willing to start out on the pay scale of a first year associate despite my one year at my current firm?

This would be for right away. It's in your interest to do this asap.

Hopefullitassociate

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby Hopefullitassociate » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:27 pm

Damn. How screwed am I if I spend a year in this corporate group? Be honest. It sounds bad.

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rpupkin

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby rpupkin » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:35 pm

Hopefullitassociate wrote:Damn. How screwed am I if I spend a year in this corporate group? Be honest. It sounds bad.

Not screwed at all. It would just be better for you--both personally and professionally--if you started in a lit group that you were going to stay in for awhile.

Hopefullitassociate

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby Hopefullitassociate » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:36 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Hopefullitassociate wrote:Damn. How screwed am I if I spend a year in this corporate group? Be honest. It sounds bad.

Not screwed at all. It would just be better for you--both personally and professionally--if you started in a lit group that you were going to stay in for awhile.


Ok thanks. This seems like a long shot, though, no? Don't most firms have their incoming class finalized, and no room for other associates, especially in lit? I realize that the odds being small shouldn't discourage me from applying anyway. I have nothing to lose, and I'm going to do it anyway. But I guess I won't get my hopes up :(

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rpupkin

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby rpupkin » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:40 pm

Hopefullitassociate wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Hopefullitassociate wrote:Damn. How screwed am I if I spend a year in this corporate group? Be honest. It sounds bad.

Not screwed at all. It would just be better for you--both personally and professionally--if you started in a lit group that you were going to stay in for awhile.


Ok thanks. This seems like a long shot, though, no? Don't most firms have their incoming class finalized, and no room for other associates, especially in lit? I realize that the odds being small shouldn't discourage me from applying anyway. I have nothing to lose, and I'm going to do it anyway. But I guess I won't get my hopes up :(

Most do, but a few won't. The market is unpredictable. Some firms overhired; others underhired. Look, you're not going to get dozens of firms calling you in for an immediate interview, but might get one or two--and one is all you need.

Hopefullitassociate

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby Hopefullitassociate » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:41 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Hopefullitassociate wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Hopefullitassociate wrote:Damn. How screwed am I if I spend a year in this corporate group? Be honest. It sounds bad.

Not screwed at all. It would just be better for you--both personally and professionally--if you started in a lit group that you were going to stay in for awhile.


Ok thanks. This seems like a long shot, though, no? Don't most firms have their incoming class finalized, and no room for other associates, especially in lit? I realize that the odds being small shouldn't discourage me from applying anyway. I have nothing to lose, and I'm going to do it anyway. But I guess I won't get my hopes up :(

Most do, but a few won't. The market is unpredictable. Some firms overhired; others underhired. Look, you're not going to get dozens of firms calling you in for an immediate interview, but might get one or two--and one is all you need.


Very true. Thanks, I'll do that tomorrow. Certainly won't hurt, and it might also express an interest that might materialize after a year.

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rpupkin

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby rpupkin » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:44 pm

Hopefullitassociate wrote:Very true. Thanks, I'll do that tomorrow. Certainly won't hurt, and it might also express an interest that might materialize after a year.

It seems like you could use a dose of optimism, so I'll offer this: you're a CCN grad with above-median grades and a clear interest in lit. (In fact, you're so interested in lit that you're willing to leave your Vault XX firm before you even start.) I honestly expect that you'll get a couple interviews right away.

Hopefullitassociate

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby Hopefullitassociate » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:46 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Hopefullitassociate wrote:Very true. Thanks, I'll do that tomorrow. Certainly won't hurt, and it might also express an interest that might materialize after a year.

It seems like you could use a dose of optimism, so I'll offer this: you're a CCN grad with above-median grades and a clear interest in lit. (In fact, you're so interested in lit that you're willing to leave your Vault XX firm before you even start.) I honestly expect that you'll get a couple interviews right away.


Thanks. And I could definitely use a dose of optimism. This whole situation really threw me off and now I'm uncertain about the entire trajectory of my career, but trying to hold it together and forge the best path possible.

dixiecupdrinking

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:40 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Hopefullitassociate wrote:Very true. Thanks, I'll do that tomorrow. Certainly won't hurt, and it might also express an interest that might materialize after a year.

It seems like you could use a dose of optimism, so I'll offer this: you're a CCN grad with above-median grades and a clear interest in lit. (In fact, you're so interested in lit that you're willing to leave your Vault XX firm before you even start.) I honestly expect that you'll get a couple interviews right away.

Totally agree. In fact, because of clerkships, firms sometimes are left guessing how many first year lit associates they'll be getting after their summer programs and it's not hard to imagine busy firms wanting to hire a few more. But do this NOW.

If it doesn't work out, apply broadly for clerkships, keep your ear to the ground for lateral firm jobs. Your situation is completely tenable and you will figure it out.

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jbagelboy

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:38 am

sucks that this happens. but you're not the only one that got shafted this year by a major firm on group preference. corp is hot right now and lit, meh. best of luck

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Cicero76

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby Cicero76 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:40 am

Definitely apply for clerkships too. Are you willing to move for one? Non major markets often hire very late so spots may be open for next year

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existentialcrisis

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby existentialcrisis » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:41 am

rpupkin wrote:
Hopefullitassociate wrote:Very true. Thanks, I'll do that tomorrow. Certainly won't hurt, and it might also express an interest that might materialize after a year.

It seems like you could use a dose of optimism, so I'll offer this: you're a CCN grad with above-median grades and a clear interest in lit. (In fact, you're so interested in lit that you're willing to leave your Vault XX firm before you even start.) I honestly expect that you'll get a couple interviews right away.


Rpupkin, (or anyone else that thinks they might be able to offer some advice), do you mind if I PM you? I have a very similar question, but with some relevant details that I'm worried might out me.

Hopefullitassociate

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby Hopefullitassociate » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:48 am

Cicero76 wrote:Definitely apply for clerkships too. Are you willing to move for one? Non major markets often hire very late so spots may be open for next year


Definitely willing to move for one, and move to the middle of the country. I have some ties to the midwest, and some save-up love for smaller cities that New York has allowed me to appreciate. Given my qualifications, would a district court clerkship in the midwest be in reach?

Hopefullitassociate

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby Hopefullitassociate » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:50 am

jbagelboy wrote:sucks that this happens. but you're not the only one that got shafted this year by a major firm on group preference. corp is hot right now and lit, meh. best of luck


Yeah, totally makes sense. It's kind of the risk you run in NYC biglaw, and it's also harder to complain about the work when the salary is as high as it is. But I'm also someone who would eventually rather work a lower-paying litigation job in the midwest than a high paying corporate job in New York or another major market, so my priority is to get back onto the litigation track so I can make that a reality. Thanks for the good sentiment.

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rpupkin

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby rpupkin » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:52 am

existentialcrisis wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Hopefullitassociate wrote:Very true. Thanks, I'll do that tomorrow. Certainly won't hurt, and it might also express an interest that might materialize after a year.

It seems like you could use a dose of optimism, so I'll offer this: you're a CCN grad with above-median grades and a clear interest in lit. (In fact, you're so interested in lit that you're willing to leave your Vault XX firm before you even start.) I honestly expect that you'll get a couple interviews right away.


Rpupkin, (or anyone else that thinks they might be able to offer some advice), do you mind if I PM you? I have a very similar question, but with some relevant details that I'm worried might out me.

Go for it.

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jbagelboy

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:54 am

Hopefullitassociate wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:sucks that this happens. but you're not the only one that got shafted this year by a major firm on group preference. corp is hot right now and lit, meh. best of luck


Yeah, totally makes sense. It's kind of the risk you run in NYC biglaw, and it's also harder to complain about the work when the salary is as high as it is. But I'm also someone who would eventually rather work a lower-paying litigation job in the midwest than a high paying corporate job in New York or another major market, so my priority is to get back onto the litigation track so I can make that a reality. Thanks for the good sentiment.


for what it's worth, I totally get it; I could never do corporate, I'd rather go back to management consulting.

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rpupkin

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby rpupkin » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:54 am

Hopefullitassociate wrote:
Cicero76 wrote:Definitely apply for clerkships too. Are you willing to move for one? Non major markets often hire very late so spots may be open for next year


Definitely willing to move for one, and move to the middle of the country. I have some ties to the midwest, and some save-up love for smaller cities that New York has allowed me to appreciate. Given my qualifications, would a district court clerkship in the midwest be in reach?

Although it's not a bad idea to apply for clerkships, time is not on your side. Frankly, it's going to be a lot easier to land a first-year associate position this fall than it will be to land an article III clerkship in the Midwest this fall. That's not to say you shouldn't try for a clerkship, but, if I were you, I'd make finding a job with a litigation group my #1 priority.

Hopefullitassociate

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby Hopefullitassociate » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:59 am

rpupkin wrote:
Hopefullitassociate wrote:
Cicero76 wrote:Definitely apply for clerkships too. Are you willing to move for one? Non major markets often hire very late so spots may be open for next year


Definitely willing to move for one, and move to the middle of the country. I have some ties to the midwest, and some save-up love for smaller cities that New York has allowed me to appreciate. Given my qualifications, would a district court clerkship in the midwest be in reach?

Although it's not a bad idea to apply for clerkships, time is not on your side. Frankly, it's going to be a lot easier to land a first-year associate position this fall than it will be to land an article III clerkship in the Midwest this fall. That's not to say you shouldn't try for a clerkship, but, if I were you, I'd make finding a job with a litigation group my #1 priority.


Absolutely. It also seems much easier. My goal with a clerkship would be to get one a year or two out, and if I have to stay in corporate until then, slug it out and supplement with pro bono work/whatever litigation work the firm will give me. But reaching out to firms is something I can and will do tomorrow, and is my immediate priority. Clerkship is my Plan B if that doesn't work.

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rpupkin

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Re: Help Me Save My Career

Postby rpupkin » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:07 am

Hopefullitassociate wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Hopefullitassociate wrote:
Cicero76 wrote:Definitely apply for clerkships too. Are you willing to move for one? Non major markets often hire very late so spots may be open for next year


Definitely willing to move for one, and move to the middle of the country. I have some ties to the midwest, and some save-up love for smaller cities that New York has allowed me to appreciate. Given my qualifications, would a district court clerkship in the midwest be in reach?

Although it's not a bad idea to apply for clerkships, time is not on your side. Frankly, it's going to be a lot easier to land a first-year associate position this fall than it will be to land an article III clerkship in the Midwest this fall. That's not to say you shouldn't try for a clerkship, but, if I were you, I'd make finding a job with a litigation group my #1 priority.


Absolutely. It also seems much easier. My goal with a clerkship would be to get one a year or two out, and if I have to stay in corporate until then, slug it out and supplement with pro bono work/whatever litigation work the firm will give me. But reaching out to firms is something I can and will do tomorrow, and is my immediate priority. Clerkship is my Plan B if that doesn't work.

Sounds like a good plan. Good luck!!



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