Not sure what to do here... (Midlevel)

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Not sure what to do here... (Midlevel)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:04 pm

Trying to keep some details vague so as to not out myself.

I'm at a firm which does, say, 70% lit and 30% "other" stuff. I'm currently around mid-level here, going on senior level in the next couple years. I don't think I can stay forever at my firm. The hours are bad (got a "talk" for being on track to bill only 2000 hours), the environment is pretty bipolar (toxic at times, great at others), etc... feel like I'm slowly being pushed out. And even if I'm not, the experience I'm getting here isn't going to be enough down the road...the rate things are going, I will end up being one of those senior associates who have never run a case, never taken a deposition, never argued a motion in court, barely ever talked to a client, and on and on. . OTOH I do have relatively significant experience doing the 30% "other" work here, and I really enjoy that work. Sadly it's a very niche practice though and few places ever have a need for another attorney in it.

So, well first, let's assume that either way if I lateral, my life and happiness will improve. What should I try to do here? Be super-picky and go only after opportunities in the "other" practice, or also be willing to look at other lit positions because there are more options available?? I might not have a whole lot of time left before I "need" to lateral rather than "want" to lateral, so that's affecting things a bit (otherwise I'd be happy to just be super-picky.)

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Sacred Cow

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Re: Not sure what to do here... (Midlevel)

Postby Sacred Cow » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:24 pm

You could prioritize applications to the "niche" positions, but you probably shouldn't let that stop you from applying to lit positions, too. It would be one thing if you really disliked lit, but it sounds like you just haven't had a good experience at this particular firm. But it really comes down to how much time you think you have, and you're going to be a better judge of that than we on TLS are.

As an aside, "niche" can be a positive. While I'm sure there are fewer positions, it also provides a more compelling reason to hire you specifically for any available positions that exist.

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Re: Not sure what to do here... (Midlevel)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:58 pm

Thanks for the thoughts. Yeah, there are certainly aspects of litigation that I dislike, but other aspects that I do like and it's overall tolerable.

I think if I'm getting pushed out, I'll get a better sense of it in the next few months. Firings happen so quickly when they do happen though; I've seen more associates come and get fired than there are attorneys still at the firm, and it's not like biglaw where they give you X months and time on the website while you find something else. If I don't get pushed out, I could see myself lasting a few more rocky years.

And yeah, you're right about the positive. I've networked extensively with people in the niche practice and have some connections all over the place, so I've probably placed myself in the best possible position if something were to open up somewhere. I guess that's also another fear I'm facing -- potentially "settling" for a lit position when the possibility of getting a position in the niche practice might still be "out there" if I were patient enough to wait for something to open. (The other side of this coin is that I already know I've let a few good lit positions potentially pass by while waiting for something in the niche practice. Not that I would know if I would have gotten hired for those positions, but I didn't even bother applying.)

sparty99

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Re: Not sure what to do here... (Midlevel)

Postby sparty99 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:57 pm

I would just apply to opportunities. You need to practice your interviewing skills and litigation is litigation. You can be overlooking great opportunities. In the intermim, try to do a single deposition if you haven't already b/c you will ask if you have done a dep or argued motions. I would perhaps even lie at the interview and said you have done these if you have not if the risk is you possibly getting canned and being unemployed. If this is your first time lateraling you are in a good position because even if your next firm sucks, well you could always leave the second firm after a year.

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Re: Not sure what to do here... (Midlevel)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:01 pm

Thanks! Reading & talking thru this is helpful.

I have no idea if I want to go to another firm or not right now... the opportunities I'm mostly looking at are in-house and government, hence the assumption that lateraling will improve my life/happiness; going to another firm will be hit or miss. I also have the unique problem that my current firm's partners are so hooked into the litigation community that even if I just start putting out feelers to other firms, it may come back to bite me and very quickly remove any doubt as to whether I'm still welcome here. (Not as much of a problem with in house / govt or the niche practice.).

Thankfully I don't necessarily have to lie to say that I've done a few things like depos etc. although "second chairing" and defending depos are BS compared to taking one, they're still better than literally never having even been in one.

run26.2

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Re: Not sure what to do here... (Midlevel)

Postby run26.2 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:18 pm

I think you undersell the value of having defended a deposition. Failure to object or defend your witness where needed could be the difference in the case. Certainly not for every depo, but it's possible. On the other hand, I don't think second chairing a depo is going to look all that valuable to potential employers.

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Re: Not sure what to do here... (Midlevel)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Trying to keep some details vague so as to not out myself.

I'm at a firm which does, say, 70% lit and 30% "other" stuff. I'm currently around mid-level here, going on senior level in the next couple years. I don't think I can stay forever at my firm. The hours are bad (got a "talk" for being on track to bill only 2000 hours), the environment is pretty bipolar (toxic at times, great at others), etc... feel like I'm slowly being pushed out. And even if I'm not, the experience I'm getting here isn't going to be enough down the road...the rate things are going, I will end up being one of those senior associates who have never run a case, never taken a deposition, never argued a motion in court, barely ever talked to a client, and on and on. . OTOH I do have relatively significant experience doing the 30% "other" work here, and I really enjoy that work. Sadly it's a very niche practice though and few places ever have a need for another attorney in it.

So, well first, let's assume that either way if I lateral, my life and happiness will improve. What should I try to do here? Be super-picky and go only after opportunities in the "other" practice, or also be willing to look at other lit positions because there are more options available?? I might not have a whole lot of time left before I "need" to lateral rather than "want" to lateral, so that's affecting things a bit (otherwise I'd be happy to just be super-picky.)


Hey, I have bipolar disorder. It's a real illness that I have to manage/control lifelong just so I can live my life. That being said, I do wish you the best of luck in resolving your situation with work. Take care.



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