Biglaw ---> Congress/Govt with debt

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Biglaw ---> Congress/Govt with debt

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:30 pm

Hi All - I'm a first year corporate associate at a V50 firm in NY. I'm one of these people who went corporate because they weren't gung-ho about litigation in law school and thought the grass would be greener, only to realize that corporate legal work is awful.

I want to transition to some type of job on the Hill (legal or non-legal, something I've always actually been interested in but disregarded as a career move for...reasons), but don't know the best way to go about it. Ideally I'd like to work for a member, but I think committee work would be very interesting as well. A complicating factor is that I have a massive amount of debt which I've already refinanced, and so I literally can't afford to just jump from biglaw to an LC/LA job at the moment. I think I need a solid 4-6 years in biglaw (or salary equivalent) to pay down my loans enough to maybe refi again and be able to afford an entry-level govt salary (and yes, I realize it made no sense to refi if I wanted to go govt).

It should be noted I have no Hill experience on my resume (I interned at a BigFed agency 1L). That being said, I've thought about a few paths after talking with a couple of people I know who work on the Hill. One option would be to stick with the corporate group at my firm for the next 4-5 years (I at least like the people I work with) and try to get involved with some of the regulatory-based work we do. After 4-5 years, try to jump to a member or committee's (maybe something like banking) staff at a more senior level and leverage my substantive knowledge. But does anyone on the Hill want substantive corporate legal knowledge, even regulatory? Would this be a waste of 5 years?

Another option would be to try and move to my firm's litigation group (we do general commercial lit and have a decently well regarded white collar/investigations group). I don't know the viability of this move (haven't talked to anyone at my firm about it) since I'm about to be done with my first year. It feels late in the game to try and make this switch, especially because I didn't do anything litigation-related in law school (non-LR journal, nothing published, no mock trial, etc). But let's say the firm let me move, does 4-5 years of litigation experience (especially with the white collar group) represent a much better use of the 5 years? Would this be much more attractive to a member/committee on the Hill and give me a chance at a senior level job despite my lack of Hill experience?

Any other creative solutions? I could see myself at a govt agency as well. Appreciate any insight, thanks.

FSK

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Re: Biglaw ---> Congress/Govt with debt

Postby FSK » Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:55 pm

You can and should supplement what you're doing by getting involved with your local party.
Last edited by FSK on Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

WalkingContradiction

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Re: Biglaw ---> Congress/Govt with debt

Postby WalkingContradiction » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:28 am

Not sure the difference between lit or corporate and it's bearing on certain members. But whatever you do, you need to start making connections with the people who work in DC for your member, the members from other parts of your state, and your senators. Hopefully they belong to the party you identify with. All of your experience won't matter much unless you have someone on the inside willing to vouch for you since you're a newcomer. It's not impossible, just difficult. You may also need to consider starting as a LC (or lower) which on the House side means a salary in the $35-40k range. Even as an LA, you'll only get up to about $45 in the House.

It's a great job, just know what to expect and start networking.

If you really want to go straight into a senior job, you'll will have an easier time having been a campaign manager for someone or having expertise in an area that the committee wants to focus on (which can be hard to anticipate).

globetrotter659

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Re: Biglaw ---> Congress/Govt with debt

Postby globetrotter659 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:35 pm

FSK wrote:You can and should supplement what you're doing by getting involved with your local party.


This could be a waste of time. Many congressional staffers never interact with the local parties of their "home" state. Definitely do this if you want to get involved with state or local politics/government but less helpful for DC.

Three conventional ways to break into the Hill:
1. Take an entry level position and work your way up (probably means starting as an LC--for recent grads might mean intern/fellowship). Of course this itself requires connections.
2. Work on a campaign.
3. Get well liked within a regulatory niche but you won't be able to do this from NY (exception for finance/SEC regulatory matters).

Basically just start networking in a niche regulatory field.

grixxlybear99

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Re: Biglaw ---> Congress/Govt with debt

Postby grixxlybear99 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:05 pm

Quit biglaw, get a job on the hill by November, apply for your school's LRAP program, enter PAYE/REPAYE, and hope PSLF sticks around. Idk why you would stick around for 5 years doing something you hate

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw ---> Congress/Govt with debt

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:22 pm

grixxlybear99 wrote:Quit biglaw, get a job on the hill by November, apply for your school's LRAP program, enter PAYE/REPAYE, and hope PSLF sticks around. Idk why you would stick around for 5 years doing something you hate


Anon OP here - wish I could do this but as I said, I've already refinanced my loans with a private lender.



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