Post-Clerkship/Lateral Search Advice?

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Post-Clerkship/Lateral Search Advice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:06 am

Hi everyone. Here's my deal: I graduated top third from a T20, spent two years in a V30 litigation practice, and then did a one year term clerkship for a district judge (think NDCA/CDCA/DDC/EDVA). I don't want to return to my old firm (part of my reason for clerking was to trade up) but I've had some family issues and wasn't able to apply to other firms during my clerkship, even though I know that's standard practice. Now I'm out of work and applying like crazy to every V100 that's looking for litigation associates or that accepts direct applications from clerks or laterals. I've been at it for a few weeks and gotten some requests for further information (like other application documents or explanations re: why I'm in the position I'm in) but no interviews yet. I decided not to use a recruiter because I thought I'd fare better if firms didn't have to pay the headhunter fee.

So, a few questions that are bugging me. Am I totally screwed and should give up on returning to biglaw due to my timing issue? Am I just being impatient with the lateral process, which I've heard can take a while longer than OCI? Is there anything I can do now other than wait and keep applying to more firms? For example, maybe I should schedule trips to the cities where I've applied & send follow-up emails to recruiting coordinators saying I'll be in town & available for interview between certain dates?

Thanks for any help, guys. I'm starting to lose my mind a little bit here.

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los blancos

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Re: Post-Clerkship/Lateral Search Advice?

Postby los blancos » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:15 am

Did you burn bridges with your old firm?

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Re: Post-Clerkship/Lateral Search Advice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:24 am

los blancos wrote:Did you burn bridges with your old firm?

OP here. No, I'm still in touch with all my old colleagues. I talked to two of the partners I had worked for there and both understood why I wanted to look elsewhere & agreed to serve as references. It's possible I could beg for my old job back but the leadership would know they were a backup option & I believe they would demand a 3+ year commitment, which I'm not excited about.

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Re: Post-Clerkship/Lateral Search Advice?

Postby tomwatts » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:27 am

I just applied from a clerkship to firm jobs (though not biglaw) and it took about six months from my first applications to the offer that I accepted. I was applying during the clerkship, not after, and I was being a little picky (got three offers before I accepted one) and applying to smaller firms that hire less than biglaw does, but I still think that a few weeks is nothing to be panicked about. It may be a month or two.

I also don't know exactly what the biglaw cycle looks like for laterals/clerks — are you hitting this at the wrong time? It seems like they would have just hired people right now, and the next big hiring wave will be for the beginning of the calendar year (people get year-end bonuses and then leave, so they have to be replaced).

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Re: Post-Clerkship/Lateral Search Advice?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:44 pm

tomwatts wrote:I also don't know exactly what the biglaw cycle looks like for laterals/clerks — are you hitting this at the wrong time?

OP here. It's possible there aren't many openings now because associates are waiting until January to collect their bonuses before leaving their firms. Also possible that recruiting departments are still busy with OCI and aren't dealing with lateral searches expeditiously right now. I am just speculating though, and I feel like it's equally possible that I'm going to get frozen out of biglaw.

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los blancos

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Re: Post-Clerkship/Lateral Search Advice?

Postby los blancos » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
los blancos wrote:Did you burn bridges with your old firm?

OP here. No, I'm still in touch with all my old colleagues. I talked to two of the partners I had worked for there and both understood why I wanted to look elsewhere & agreed to serve as references. It's possible I could beg for my old job back but the leadership would know they were a backup option & I believe they would demand a 3+ year commitment, which I'm not excited about.


With the caveats that we don't know which market you're looking in and that vault #s are meaningless I'll just say (and I really am not trying to be an ass here) that using a mid-career clerkship to "trade up" was always going to an iffy proposition and you should probably be figuring out if your old firm is a viable option. You also need to be using your Judge and her clerk network to network like crazy and get informational chats and interviews.

You're not screwed at all. It is a slow infuriating process, though, and you probably are hitting it at the wrong time, but I'm not sure that there is a "right time" for mid-career clerks, who I sense get looked at more like any other lateral than a post-clerkship hire.

Lateral hiring in general is a shitshow. I had a firm fly me out for a callback, ask for references at the end of the interview, and then tell me 5 weeks later "oh we're actually not hiring anyone rn"

I probably can't be that much help but you can PM me if you'd like



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