On Leaving Litigation

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On Leaving Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:56 am

I recently left a commercial litigation position for a transactional (media/entertainment) practice. While there are a lot of things I like, I don't always feel like I'm being as intellectually stimulated as I was as a litigator. That feeling when you've delved deep into a research question or drafted a really complex brief is somewhat lost to me now. Has anyone gone through the same thing? Do you find that you're consistently missing being a litigator / the stimulation that comes with it?

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby daedalus2309 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:30 pm


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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby rpupkin » Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I recently left a commercial litigation position for a transactional (media/entertainment) practice. While there are a lot of things I like, I don't always feel like I'm being as intellectually stimulated as I was as a litigator. That feeling when you've delved deep into a research question or drafted a really complex brief is somewhat lost to me now. Has anyone gone through the same thing? Do you find that you're consistently missing being a litigator / the stimulation that comes with it?

If you liked that feeling, why did you leave litigation?

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:56 pm

I am going through the same situation. I left mid law litigation position to go to big law white collar investigations practice. Feeing like I went from lawyer to secretary.

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby cavalierattitude » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I recently left a commercial litigation position for a transactional (media/entertainment) practice.


How did you manage to do this? I am trying to do the exact same thing but am running into the dual trap of (1) not having enough experience -- the closest I've been able to get is soft IP litigation -- and (2) being "too senior" to get hired for a more entry-level position where I could actually get that experience, even though I seriously don't care about the pay or seniority cut. I'm at wit's end and basically don't see a path forward other than networking hard and hoping for a lucky break through nepotism.

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:02 pm

cavalierattitude wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I recently left a commercial litigation position for a transactional (media/entertainment) practice.


How did you manage to do this? I am trying to do the exact same thing but am running into the dual trap of (1) not having enough experience -- the closest I've been able to get is soft IP litigation -- and (2) being "too senior" to get hired for a more entry-level position where I could actually get that experience, even though I seriously don't care about the pay or seniority cut. I'm at wit's end and basically don't see a path forward other than networking hard and hoping for a lucky break through nepotism.


I would love to as well but there seems to be a stigma surrounding leaving lit for transactions--like you couldn't hack it in litigation so want to try something else.

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:03 pm

cavalierattitude wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I recently left a commercial litigation position for a transactional (media/entertainment) practice.


How did you manage to do this? I am trying to do the exact same thing but am running into the dual trap of (1) not having enough experience -- the closest I've been able to get is soft IP litigation -- and (2) being "too senior" to get hired for a more entry-level position where I could actually get that experience, even though I seriously don't care about the pay or seniority cut. I'm at wit's end and basically don't see a path forward other than networking hard and hoping for a lucky break through nepotism.


I would love to as well but there seems to be a stigma surrounding leaving lit for transactions--like you couldn't hack it in litigation so want to try something else.

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby cavalierattitude » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:09 pm

You would think that would be belied by the fact that I've done litigation for years at top firms. I very clearly can hack it; I just don't want to, because I hate it. It just took me too long to realize how much I hate it.

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:58 pm

cavalierattitude wrote:You would think that would be belied by the fact that I've done litigation for years at top firms. I very clearly can hack it; I just don't want to, because I hate it. It just took me too long to realize how much I hate it.


I hope it didn't come across as my viewpoint that you can't hack it. It's just what I've experienced while trying to make this move. It feels impossible.

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby cavalierattitude » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:07 pm

Nah, I understood you were saying that seems to be the view of people in the hiring position. I was likewise addressing my comment to them/generally, and not at you.

It really does feel impossible. I've even applied to paralegal positions, which is depressing in itself and then more depressing when even those don't get a response. Meanwhile I keep hearing stories of people who've made it happen. Plus I feel like a brat for being so dissatisfied when plenty of people work shitty jobs for far less money.

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:12 pm

cavalierattitude wrote:Nah, I understood you were saying that seems to be the view of people in the hiring position. I was likewise addressing my comment to them/generally, and not at you.

It really does feel impossible. I've even applied to paralegal positions, which is depressing in itself and then more depressing when even those don't get a response. Meanwhile I keep hearing stories of people who've made it happen. Plus I feel like a brat for being so dissatisfied when plenty of people work shitty jobs for far less money.


FWIW...I have a friend who went to HYS and worked in a V25 firm for a couple years before lateraling to a v50ish. It took her a year or so of looking but she landed a gig at a small firm doing only corporate work. The pay cut was intense but it can be done if you're willing to make some huge sacrifices (likely prestige and financial). The shitty thing is that people seem to be able to make a switch from corporate to litigation without as much difficulty. I feel like as litigation associates we have more transferrable skills when looking to move to the corporate side than corporate associates have when looking to do lit. Just keep looking and maybe take opportunities to do transactional pro bono work that way you can market yourself as having certain skills notwithstanding the fact that you're technically a litigation associate.

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby cavalierattitude » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:41 pm

Yup, sounds familiar. I went top school > clerkship > V10 > V75 (stupid move in hindsight for other reasons, not recommended), been looking for over two years but found only one small firm willing to interview me for transactional work, and they said no thanks at least in part because they preferred to hire someone more junior. Have had a few in-house interviews as well, but nobody will bite. I don't care about prestige and am perfectly happy to take up to a 60% pay cut. Maybe even more for the right job. Money isn't that important; I just want to do the work and get the experience.

Do you have any resources that you or people you know have actually gotten transactional pro bono work through? I've heard that suggestion before but have never actually encountered any. It all seems to be litigation (asylum proceedings, etc.).

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:56 pm

cavalierattitude wrote:Yup, sounds familiar. I went top school > clerkship > V10 > V75 (stupid move in hindsight for other reasons, not recommended), been looking for over two years but found only one small firm willing to interview me for transactional work, and they said no thanks at least in part because they preferred to hire someone more junior. Have had a few in-house interviews as well, but nobody will bite. I don't care about prestige and am perfectly happy to take up to a 60% pay cut. Maybe even more for the right job. Money isn't that important; I just want to do the work and get the experience.

Do you have any resources that you or people you know have actually gotten transactional pro bono work through? I've heard that suggestion before but have never actually encountered any. It all seems to be litigation (asylum proceedings, etc.).


My firm has someone in charge of pro bono. Do you have an in-firm resource to go to for pro bono work?

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby cavalierattitude » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:15 pm

Yes. They're not that helpful.

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:59 pm

cavalierattitude wrote:Yes. They're not that helpful.


I say just keep trying and hopefully something will pan out. Are you working with a recruiter?

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby cavalierattitude » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:22 am

A couple. Others have flat out said it's going to be too difficult in my position. Most of the leads I've had haven't been through recruiters.

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:25 am

cavalierattitude wrote:A couple. Others have flat out said it's going to be too difficult in my position. Most of the leads I've had haven't been through recruiters.


I think a recruiter might be good for identifying open positions at firms and selling you to his/her contacts within firms. I think with in-house roles, you're basically on your own or you have to know someone on the inside.

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Re: On Leaving Litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think a recruiter might be good for identifying open positions at firms and selling you to his/her contacts within firms. I think with in-house roles, you're basically on your own or you have to know someone on the inside.


Yes, I think that's the conventional wisdom and is generally in line with my experience over the past few years.



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