How do you avoid being pigeonholed in one practice area?

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How do you avoid being pigeonholed in one practice area?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:43 am

Say you do insurance defense of a particular type of client and you dont like it. A year from now I want to lateral to a different firm/practice group. Is there something I can do in between to minimize being passed up in the future for a position in different practice group?

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Johann

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Re: How do you avoid being pigeonholed in one practice area?

Postby Johann » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:41 am

Talk to people and ask what they're working on and then ask if they need help. It's about developing relationships. Or talk to the higher ups and demand a certain type of work but you gotta be willing to walk the walk on that one.

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deadpanic

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Re: How do you avoid being pigeonholed in one practice area?

Postby deadpanic » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Say you do insurance defense of a particular type of client and you dont like it. A year from now I want to lateral to a different firm/practice group. Is there something I can do in between to minimize being passed up in the future for a position in different practice group?


I think it will be hard to lateral after one year regardless.

A lot of insurance defense firms--all they do is ID, all day, everyday. So, in that regard, you are "pigeonholed" in that all you will be doing there is "insurance defense." That being said, ID is one of the better ways to learn litigation in general, and I think if you do a great job and are good in the courtroom, you can potentially use later going to the plaintiff's side or maybe even representing the city or county government. It may still be the same practice area, but potentially better exit options IMO.

But insurance defense can be a broad umbrella. Some groups are probably just going to do, say, 18-wheeler truck accident defense. Another might do nursing home defense litigation. I think as far as ID, they key is trying to work on a wide variety of cases as possible. However, there are tons of ID practices out there that are very limited so it is going to vary by firm. A lot of insurance companies say X Firm you get all the auto accident cases under 20k and that is it, and if they may stick you there you would have no choice.

So, I think do your due diligence beforehand and see what all the firm does and how much real litigation experience you will get. If you are just settling nuisance slip-and-fall cases for insurance companies or filing standard form Answers, that is something that will not only pigeonhole you as for as practice area, that is something that is going to likely be a dead-end career.

You likely won't have the chance to switch to any kind of transactional practice short of some miracle. I realize this was more of a hypothetical regarding ID, but I think it is probably one of the most common practices out there so I ran with that example.



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