Lateral from Public Interest to Firm?

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Lateral from Public Interest to Firm?

Postby HillandHollow » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:48 pm

(Tried searching this, didn't find anything. Apologies if I missed it somewhere.)

Anyone have experience or knowledge in moving from public interest litigation to a midsize or bigger firm (presumably into their litigation dept)?

Anecdotally, I hear that this move only really happens after ~5-10 years of legit litigation experience in PI, and then only to a very closely related lit subgroup. The two or three people I know who made this move also said that it was to a firm with whom they had some sort of experience (working with their pro bono team or something). Just gathering knowledge now for future consideration. I appreciate any info, thanks.

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Re: Lateral from Public Interest to Firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:13 pm

What kind of PI?

If we are talking ACLU/Southern Poverty Law Center, maybe you will get a chance at a larger firm, but seems unlikely. If you are just, say, a state public defender, probably not much of a chance at all. Most of any profitable work would translate to 1983 plaintiff cases, and big firms usually cannot take those cases due to the fact that that they are mosty contingency and/or a conflict of interest. If you're lucky and highly regarded, maybe you will get to be some sort of pro bono chair for this sort of stuff, but that is a very long shot.

But definitely get all the trial work you can. I think your best shot is some sort of lit boutique. Best of luck! (I would say stay in PI if that is your calling; more satisfying than a firm, and less hours, but personal call)

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