Incoming Litigation Associate

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Nebby

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby Nebby » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:37 pm

Basically, the most important thing is to learn how to effectively organize everything. Once you're staffed on a number of matters, your workflow is largely dictated by due dates (internal and external).

jd20132013

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby jd20132013 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:09 pm

use one note
don't do pro bono unless you get full billable credit for it( and even then tread lightly)

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Lacepiece23

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby Lacepiece23 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:25 pm

jd20132013 wrote:use one note
don't do pro bono unless you get full billable credit for it( and even then tread lightly)


I don't agree with pro bono. That's how you develop skill and keep a piece of your humanity. I've already done over 130 hours more than my cap for pro bono hours and don't regret it at all.

jd20132013

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby jd20132013 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:34 pm

I figured that advice would be unpopular.

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Lacepiece23

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby Lacepiece23 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:41 pm

jd20132013 wrote:I figured that advice would be unpopular.


I mean I get the advice, it normally makes your life harder and just doing your work and gtfo is easier. I'd supplement your advice with don't do pro bono unless you are the lead attorney. I've only taken on cases by myself since day one, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm not going to write someone else's motion for them while they go to court and argue it. Makes no sense.

jd20132013

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby jd20132013 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:50 pm

Lacepiece23 wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:I figured that advice would be unpopular.


I mean I get the advice, it normally makes your life harder and just doing your work and gtfo is easier. I'd supplement your advice with don't do pro bono unless you are the lead attorney. I've only taken on cases by myself since day one, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm not going to write someone else's motion for them while they go to court and argue it. Makes no sense.


Ok I can definitely get behind this. I haven't been the lead attorney on mine and it's been an incredible time sink.

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:30 pm

Lacepiece23 wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:I figured that advice would be unpopular.


I mean I get the advice, it normally makes your life harder and just doing your work and gtfo is easier. I'd supplement your advice with don't do pro bono unless you are the lead attorney. I've only taken on cases by myself since day one, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm not going to write someone else's motion for them while they go to court and argue it. Makes no sense.


Taking your own cases on is critical. You get more experience and it eliminates the incentive of the more senior person to demand a ton of your time.

lolwat

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby lolwat » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:52 pm

Pro bono is great if you're the lead attorney on it or even if you're not the lead attorney but still get substantive experience. Obviously it's a waste of time if you're just doing the same low level grunt work you'd do on any other paying case..

In general, as I meet more and more of the influential attorneys in my area, many of them put in a TON of personal time doing extra shit they don't get paid for. At practically every award dinner you don't hear about how the honorees billed 3k/year or how much business in $$$ they bring in for their firm. You hear about how much they've done for the community and for the legal profession, how they won some SCOTUS/SSC case that changed the law for the good of all humankind, and all that nice happy rainbow unicorn shit. Many times an attorney's first SCOTUS or state supreme court filing/argument is some pro bono case or even an amicus brief and it ends up launching their reputation. It's by doing those things that they got experience and recognition beyond just being another associate at another big law firm.

I realize many people don't give a fuck about any of that, they just want to do their 2k/year in biglaw and then go in-house or gov't. And that's fine for those people. But I would advice junior attys to look beyond the billable hour.

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:47 am

Another thing is to learn the ins and out of your firm's mailroom, when its hours are, and how to prepare a mailing. I cannot remember how many times a partner has asked me to mail or send something out after COB and it's taken me an hour just to print a letter, fill out the right postage request forms, etc.

run26.2

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby run26.2 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:58 am

Beware of work product drop-off 9-12 months in. Usually caused by having taken too much on and can't handle everything around that time. Ease into this job. The work will find you.

surrealfx

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby surrealfx » Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:12 pm

As a third-year litigation associate at a V10 firm, I agree with a ton of the advice here. I'd add something that I do that is stated in various ways above.
I find out what needs to be done and either suggest that I do it or just do it. For large filings, if citations need to be checked for accuracy and format or typos need to be corrected, I do it. In my experience, senior associates and partners aren't necessarily great managers. They have experience but either forget or don't care about the details. I take care of those.

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:16 am

surrealfx wrote:As a third-year litigation associate at a V10 firm, I agree with a ton of the advice here. I'd add something that I do that is stated in various ways above.
I find out what needs to be done and either suggest that I do it or just do it. For large filings, if citations need to be checked for accuracy and format or typos need to be corrected, I do it. In my experience, senior associates and partners aren't necessarily great managers. They have experience but either forget or don't care about the details. I take care of those.


As a senior litigation associate...far be it from me to dispute that senior associates and partners aren't great managers (they aren't, for the most part), but let me tease this idea: this isn't a great example of that. What surrealfx is doing isn't some great display of going above and beyond to take ownership: it's the basic responsibility of a 3rd year associate. I.e., this is "meets expectations" territory, not "exceeds expectations." No good associate--at any stage of the hierarchy--does only tasks they are expressly requested to do by someone more senior.

I do pay attention to the minutiae on my cases, and I remind the juniors of relevant tasks a few days in advance. But I shouldn't have to--and all of the good juniors, quickly enough (usually by year 2) learn what they need to do to clean and prep a document for filing and do it automatically. Simply put, it's not the partner's responsibility, or mine, at this stage in our careers (although it is my responsibility to make sure incoming associates are trained on what to do, and that midlevels are trained on training incoming associates, etc.)

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
surrealfx wrote:As a third-year litigation associate at a V10 firm, I agree with a ton of the advice here. I'd add something that I do that is stated in various ways above.
I find out what needs to be done and either suggest that I do it or just do it. For large filings, if citations need to be checked for accuracy and format or typos need to be corrected, I do it. In my experience, senior associates and partners aren't necessarily great managers. They have experience but either forget or don't care about the details. I take care of those.


As a senior litigation associate...far be it from me to dispute that senior associates and partners aren't great managers (they aren't, for the most part), but let me tease this idea: this isn't a great example of that. What surrealfx is doing isn't some great display of going above and beyond to take ownership: it's the basic responsibility of a 3rd year associate. I.e., this is "meets expectations" territory, not "exceeds expectations." No good associate--at any stage of the hierarchy--does only tasks they are expressly requested to do by someone more senior.

I do pay attention to the minutiae on my cases, and I remind the juniors of relevant tasks a few days in advance. But I shouldn't have to--and all of the good juniors, quickly enough (usually by year 2) learn what they need to do to clean and prep a document for filing and do it automatically. Simply put, it's not the partner's responsibility, or mine, at this stage in our careers (although it is my responsibility to make sure incoming associates are trained on what to do, and that midlevels are trained on training incoming associates, etc.)



This is the ideal, not necessarily what you get with all junior associates. Some juniors simply do not understand that they need to be proactive and that they have certain responsibilities that they need to handle without prompting. Others have spent 2 years on doc review or doing something else and have never handled a filing, or they've worked for seniors who tend to handle most of the minutae and who never trained them to take ownership.

Part of the challenge of this job (at least at a group with 100+ attorneys) is constantly adjusting to the new crop of juniors you are staffed with. Sometimes you are pleasantly surpised, other times you wonder how that person even got through law school. But since, as senior associate, you are 100% responsible for everything the partner delegates down, you have to be constantly checking in or reminding juniors of stuff. Otherwise you will get burned.

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Re: Incoming Litigation Associate

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
surrealfx wrote:As a third-year litigation associate at a V10 firm, I agree with a ton of the advice here. I'd add something that I do that is stated in various ways above.
I find out what needs to be done and either suggest that I do it or just do it. For large filings, if citations need to be checked for accuracy and format or typos need to be corrected, I do it. In my experience, senior associates and partners aren't necessarily great managers. They have experience but either forget or don't care about the details. I take care of those.


As a senior litigation associate...far be it from me to dispute that senior associates and partners aren't great managers (they aren't, for the most part), but let me tease this idea: this isn't a great example of that. What surrealfx is doing isn't some great display of going above and beyond to take ownership: it's the basic responsibility of a 3rd year associate. I.e., this is "meets expectations" territory, not "exceeds expectations." No good associate--at any stage of the hierarchy--does only tasks they are expressly requested to do by someone more senior.

I do pay attention to the minutiae on my cases, and I remind the juniors of relevant tasks a few days in advance. But I shouldn't have to--and all of the good juniors, quickly enough (usually by year 2) learn what they need to do to clean and prep a document for filing and do it automatically. Simply put, it's not the partner's responsibility, or mine, at this stage in our careers (although it is my responsibility to make sure incoming associates are trained on what to do, and that midlevels are trained on training incoming associates, etc.)



This is the ideal, not necessarily what you get with all junior associates. Some juniors simply do not understand that they need to be proactive and that they have certain responsibilities that they need to handle without prompting. Others have spent 2 years on doc review or doing something else and have never handled a filing, or they've worked for seniors who tend to handle most of the minutae and who never trained them to take ownership.

Part of the challenge of this job (at least at a group with 100+ attorneys) is constantly adjusting to the new crop of juniors you are staffed with. Sometimes you are pleasantly surpised, other times you wonder how that person even got through law school. But since, as senior associate, you are 100% responsible for everything the partner delegates down, you have to be constantly checking in or reminding juniors of stuff. Otherwise you will get burned.


Prior (senior litigation associate) anon. I understand that not all junior associates do this, because they "do not understand" they need to do it (the reason that they "do not understand" this is that they have not troubled to think through how they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities, or else don't like the fact that this type of grunt work is part of their job and are thus trying to avoid it as much as possible.) And as I noted, I consistently pay attention to the tasks in question and remind juniors to ensure they are handled in advance (largely for exactly the reason you noted: anything else will lead to getting burned by sloppy juniors who aren't trying their hardest.) My point is simple: tasks such as citations, format, and typos are juniors' jobs, not mine and not the partners'. Whether they are told or not. Whether they were trained this is the case or not. Etc. The fact that some juniors fail to do their job without explicitly being asked on a case-by-case basis is not the point in this thread, which exists to highlight best practices. The best practice for juniors is to do as surrealfx does and to understand that doing so is part of your job in every case whether or not you are asked explicitly. (You should certainly tell your team what you are doing to ensure there's no duplication of work, especially if there are other juniors on your team.)



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