DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

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DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:49 am

I've had like 10 AUSA interviews. I struck out in all 10. It seems like the sticking points are lack of ties to the cities I have interviewed in and lack of trial experience.

Anyone have any tips for how to get trial experience in biglaw? Is there any pro bono that practically guarantees a trial? Is there trial advocacy team-type organizations for practicing lawyers? (I wanted to keep my grades up in law school, and I felt like I had the typical study for a final thing down, so I didn't do trial ad in law school when most people do it).

I know the obvious answer is to go work at some DA's office. I'd be cool with that as far as it goes. But I also want to keep my options open in case I need to come back to biglaw, and the obvious theme I've seen at least at my firm is that AUSAs at certain offices and people at certain DOJ components can get back in the door, but ADAs usually can't.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:03 am

Have you been looking at main justice positions? I realize some of them require just as much (if not more) trial experience and can require more specialized knowledge, but I think it can be easier to move from one of those positions to AUSA if you can find one that fits with your experience.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:04 am

I agree with the point re: main justice.

I'm not in biglaw, but many of my friends are. I'll let other posters comment on what specifically you can do at a law firm to get trial experience. I have heard of offices that let you do rotations at a DA's office for a few months in order to get trial experience, but I'm guessing that isn't the case at your firm.

Why do you want to be an AUSA? If it's because you actually want to do the job and don't see it as another prestige line on your resume, then it's worth going to work as an ADA for a couple years (and it'll be a hell of a lot more fun than biglaw). If your goal is to be an AUSA for a few years so you can get trial experience and rotate back to the firm as of counsel or partner, then just stick with the firm and hope that someone lets you second chair a trial.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:12 am

Op here. I've had 3 main justice interviews. Less concerns with ties, but the same concerns about trial experience.

Re: why AUSA, I'd hope to do it for life. [editing out personal stuff about why AUSA]. But I am hoping to keep the door open. I have a family, and money got super tight during my clerkships. This is obviously a first world problem, and I don't expect sympathy, but if we were having problems breaking even or if my wife were laid off, I might want to come back to the firm.

Re: DA rotation, I'll ask. I've never heard of it happening here though.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

jimmythecatdied6

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby jimmythecatdied6 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:32 am

EDVA Federal Defender has a program where they invite biglaw associates to help out with cases. If not that, I would check out programs where you can work in DC Landlord Tenant Court. Representing tenants in Landlord Tenant Court will likely at least lead to an evidentiary hearing.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:34 am

jimmythecatdied6 wrote:EDVA Federal Defender has a program where they invite biglaw associates to help out with cases. If not that, I would check out programs where you can work in DC Landlord Tenant Court. Representing tenants in Landlord Tenant Court will likely at least lead to an evidentiary hearing.


Awesome. I'll look into both. I'd love to do the EDVA one. I'm certain my firm would let me to landlord tenant work -- I've heard of others doing it.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby Jchance » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:39 am

look into pro bono cases that have a good chance of going to trial

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:43 am

Jchance wrote:look into pro bono cases that have a good chance of going to trial


Oh man, easier said than done! That's actually part of why I'm posting. I have been sure that all of my pro bono cases would result in a trial. None have. I was hoping the TLS collective wisdom could lead me to the right pro bono.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby Lincoln » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:53 am

Are there no partners at your firm that regularly take cases to trial? Can't you try to get on some of those cases?

The partner I worked for at my firm was well known for getting cases that went to trial, and people who wanted trial experience sometimes asked to work for him for that reason.

Alternatively, try to go to a lit boutique that does a lot of trials.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:23 pm

jimmythecatdied6 wrote:EDVA Federal Defender has a program where they invite biglaw associates to help out with cases. If not that, I would check out programs where you can work in DC Landlord Tenant Court. Representing tenants in Landlord Tenant Court will likely at least lead to an evidentiary hearing.

Came here to say this. Pro bono L&T work (and L&T in general) is pretty solid court/trial experience.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby Lacepiece23 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:25 pm

Yeah, I do a lot of L&T work. I've done two evidentiary hearings and an arbitration in my first year. I'm doing a bench trial soon too. Also, I have a federal jury trial coming up in a prisoner's rights case. I'd recommend L&T though.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby First Offense » Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:36 pm

L&T and if your firm has an agreement with one of the DC/VA/MD (depending on where you passed the bar) PD offices, you could probably reach out to them to take a few cases here and there. I know a guy at my firm that is defending a murder case through that route.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby unlicensedpotato » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:52 pm

Family law pro bono, specifically domestic violence cases.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby clerk1251 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:59 pm

From my previous experience in biglaw, my firm had a pro bono coordinator. It was a partner solely dedicated to managing all pro bono work and available opportunities, for the associates. She had lots of great insight, as well as great contacts for different types of work.

During orientation, each associate met with her to discuss there interests, and what they'd hope to accomplish out of their pro bono experience. If someone was specifically looking for a matter likely to go to trial, she would find it for you.

You should see if your firm has anyone that serves in this type of role.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 08, 2016 4:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Jchance wrote:look into pro bono cases that have a good chance of going to trial


Oh man, easier said than done! That's actually part of why I'm posting. I have been sure that all of my pro bono cases would result in a trial. None have. I was hoping the TLS collective wisdom could lead me to the right pro bono.


I'm a first year and I've had a trial-like hearing in immigration court (pro bono). That's the closest you can probably get. One of my major client cases is going to trial in a couple months and I'll certainly attend, but I won't be taking witnesses or anything like that.

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deadpanic

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby deadpanic » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:27 pm

Landlord tenant pro bono tenant defense as others have said. I assume those are all in a small claims type of court and you could also do some pro bono collection defense. (Be careful with both though, because they could be some creditor your firm represents in a different capacity, so make sure there are no conflicts).

That being said, I do not know how much that would count as trial experience for AUSA.

Edited to add: what about picking up criminal defense cases? I know in a lot of jurisdictions they will assign indigent defendant cases to private attorneys. That would be more helpful if that is available.
Last edited by deadpanic on Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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zot1

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby zot1 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:28 pm

Try something new.

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby patentlitigatrix » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:06 pm

unlicensedpotato wrote:Family law pro bono, specifically domestic violence cases.


This-I've done two DV trials. And does your local district court have a program that appoints pro bono counsel? N.D. Cal. has this, and I have also done two trials as part of this (both 1983 cases). And if appellate argument is your thing too, does D.C. Cir. or 4th Cir. have a thing where they appoint pro bono counsel as well? I've done an immigration appeal and an appeal from an admin agency through this for 9th Cir.

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Desert Fox

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:08 pm

ITC cases
Last edited by Desert Fox on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

patentlitigatrix

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Re: DC biglaw associate here, any ideas on how to get trial experience

Postby patentlitigatrix » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:09 pm

Desert Fox wrote:ITC cases


Cruel joke man.



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