Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 299683
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:45 pm

I am currently clerking for a district court in a flyover state. Graduated top 5% of my class from a T20 school and summered at a firm on the east coast during my 2L summer. I don't plan on going back to the firm that I summered at for various reasons, but I do have an offer and did not burn any bridges with any of the attorneys.

I am looking to start applying to firms in LA (and potentially SF), and I was looking for some input on the reputations that certain firms have. The firms that are on my radar at this point are Gibson, MTO, Skadden, Susman, Quinn, Hueston, Boies. My main concern is going to a firm that is going to provide quality, substantive experience early on. I don't want to be a fourth year associate that has not taken or defended a deposition, and I would like to get some stand-up experience early on. I'd also like to wind up at a firm that isn't too hierarchical. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Anonymous User
Posts: 299683
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:56 pm

If you're going to include firms like Gibson and Skadden, may as well add Irell, OMM, and Latham.

Anonymous User
Posts: 299683
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:40 pm

Does that firm you have an offer with have a CA office? That might be your best "in" for the LA market. Even with your stats (assuming your T20 isn't UCLA or USC) and a flyover D.Ct. clerkship, some of the firms on your list (MTO, SG, BSF, HH) are still huge reaches and you should be setting your expectations lower.

https://www.chambersandpartners.com/120 ... torial/5/1

Also Skadden isn't really in the same tier as the other firms you mentioned, which suggests you aren't the most familiar with the LA market. As the above anon noted, if your goal is really to break into LA, you should be expanding your search to other reputable, but not "elite," firms. Just my 2 cents as a recent SA at one of firms listed above.

User avatar
runinthefront
Posts: 1785
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:18 am

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby runinthefront » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am currently clerking for a district court in a flyover state. Graduated top 5% of my class from a T20 school and summered at a firm on the east coast during my 2L summer. I don't plan on going back to the firm that I summered at for various reasons, but I do have an offer and did not burn any bridges with any of the attorneys.

I am looking to start applying to firms in LA (and potentially SF), and I was looking for some input on the reputations that certain firms have. The firms that are on my radar at this point are Gibson, MTO, Skadden, Susman, Quinn, Hueston, Boies. My main concern is going to a firm that is going to provide quality, substantive experience early on. I don't want to be a fourth year associate that has not taken or defended a deposition, and I would like to get some stand-up experience early on. I'd also like to wind up at a firm that isn't too hierarchical. Any input is greatly appreciated.

My only input is to say that you should probably cast a wider net when you finally start your post-clerkship job hunt. That's not meant to be a stab at your credentials by any means, but my understanding is that all of the firms on your list (particularly Susman, MTO, and Hueston) are very competitive, even for those coming off of clerkships.

ETA: My post was "scooped" by the one above it. Anyway, I think there are some midlevel lit associates in LA that lurk TLS, so you should be able to get some good feedback on firm culture, hierarchy, etc.

Anonymous User
Posts: 299683
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:32 pm

OP here. I don't want to disclose too much personal information, but I realistically believe that I have a shot with interviewing at a few of the firms I listed. I do, however, understand that their hiring is extremely competitive and that casting a broad net will help. I think adding Irell, Latham, and OMM makes sense.

The firm I summered out does not have an LA office, so transferring offices is unfortunately not an option. Thanks for the insight so far.

Anonymous User
Posts: 299683
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:25 pm

Former CACD clerk here. I agree with everyone else that you need to expand your search to more than the top ~10-15 firms. Your credentials are only okay for LA, and you will be competing for a small number of positions in a competitive, somewhat regional market with a strong preference for west coast connections (i.e., Stanford/UCLA/Berkeley/USC/etc. graduates who clerked in CACD/CAND/9th Cir.). That said, if your primary concern is quality, substantive experience -- rather than Vault prestige, which is fairly irrelevant/inaccurate on the west coast anyway -- then you should be looking at smaller firms instead of Latham/Skadden/OMM types, where you probably won't get much real experience as a junior associate.

Anonymous User
Posts: 299683
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I don't want to disclose too much personal information, but I realistically believe that I have a shot with interviewing at a few of the firms I listed. I do, however, understand that their hiring is extremely competitive and that casting a broad net will help. I think adding Irell, Latham, and OMM makes sense.

The firm I summered out does not have an LA office, so transferring offices is unfortunately not an option. Thanks for the insight so far.


Second anon here. Glad you're expanding your search.

Like the above anon said, do you have ties to Los Angeles or California more generally? Born/raised/school/work/significant other/etc.? If not (and possibly even if you do), unless you have a CoA or CA SSC clerkship lined up or something else equally shiny, MTO, SG, and HH are most likely out. Even with local ties, they generally only hire the very top student from UCLA/USC (not even from the full T20), if at all, for an SA. In fact, they're sufficiently school/preftige/grade sensitive that they usually only take from the top 10% at YHSB, and top 5% in the rest of the T14, all of whom already have clerkships lined up.

Among the firms you listed, you have the best shot at Quinn, Latham, and OMM, where your grades and clerkship will likely outweigh lack of ties. You'll probably be able to get an interview with GDC but, for BSF, they just recently absorbed Caldwell Leslie as their DTLA branch, so who knows what their non-SA hiring will be like. And if you have an IP lit background, Irell would most likely also take you seriously.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lolwat
Posts: 1051
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby lolwat » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:44 pm

Good advice above.

I have very similar stats to you and I made it to the general SoCal area but holy shit did it take tons of effort.

For your interests, you want to look for good litigation boutiques, not biglaw. Hueston and Susman are great examples. I'll lump MTO there too even though they're too big to be a "boutique" just because their reputation is top-notch in LA and I know people there who get very substantive experience. Boies Schiller LA used to be Caldwell Leslie, which had a pretty good reputation, but to my knowledge not quite as tippy top as firms like Hueston and Susman.

Quinn might be alright, but if you're working on some of the giant cases, probably less likely so. It's sort of a bridge between a litigation boutique and standard biglaw. Of the more standard biglaw firms (OMM, Latham, Gibson, Skadden), I like Gibson the best, but I would assume none of them provide a whole lot of early depo/stand-up experience. Just the way big firms go.

I'm really not sure where to place Irell anymore now after the KBK and Hueston groups left. It's like a patent lit shop now.

Anonymous User
Posts: 299683
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:48 pm

Not OP, but I'm wondering-- how important are the ties? I have no ties to SoCal at all, but I will be doing a CDCA clerkship (followed by a non-CA9 circuit). Is the one-year LA clerkship enough to count as a "tie" to SoCal and give me a shot at MTO, SG, and HH? Stats are top 5% CCN if that is relevant.

I'm only interested in being in LA long term for one of those three firms, so I'm trying to suss out my plan.

Anonymous User
Posts: 299683
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP, but I'm wondering-- how important are the ties? I have no ties to SoCal at all, but I will be doing a CDCA clerkship (followed by a non-CA9 circuit). Is the one-year LA clerkship enough to count as a "tie" to SoCal and give me a shot at MTO, SG, and HH? Stats are top 5% CCN if that is relevant.

I'm only interested in being in LA long term for one of those three firms, so I'm trying to suss out my plan.


Personal ties are much more important for LA/SF than they have any right to be given the enormous size of the California legal market. Part of it is due to the desirability of living in California generally, which firms (rightly) assume many lawyers want to experience for the short-term (or for a summer), but not necessarily for the long-term if their families/networks/home base are elsewhere. A CDCA clerkship will give you a huge leg up in communicating a long-term interest in the market, especially if you network aggressively during your clerkship year. With your school, stats, and clerkships, you should be taken very seriously by all the firms you mentioned and have a good shot at any one, if not all, of them.

lolwat
Posts: 1051
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby lolwat » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not OP, but I'm wondering-- how important are the ties? I have no ties to SoCal at all, but I will be doing a CDCA clerkship (followed by a non-CA9 circuit). Is the one-year LA clerkship enough to count as a "tie" to SoCal and give me a shot at MTO, SG, and HH? Stats are top 5% CCN if that is relevant.

I'm only interested in being in LA long term for one of those three firms, so I'm trying to suss out my plan.


Personal ties are much more important for LA/SF than they have any right to be given the enormous size of the California legal market. Part of it is due to the desirability of living in California generally, which firms (rightly) assume many lawyers want to experience for the short-term (or for a summer), but not necessarily for the long-term if their families/networks/home base are elsewhere. A CDCA clerkship will give you a huge leg up in communicating a long-term interest in the market, especially if you network aggressively during your clerkship year. With your school, stats, and clerkships, you should be taken very seriously by all the firms you mentioned and have a good shot at any one, if not all, of them.


Above poster is right. Top 5% at CCN with a CDCA clerkship and a COA clerkship will be competitive at MTO, SG, and HH. Moreso if you network and get to know people. Try to get invited to the SG holiday party that year.

Although I don't necessarily agree re the "any right to be" comment... I don't know if firms really even have to look outside of CA schools to fill up summer classes with relative competitive people. You already have Stanford, then another school that's consistently in the T14 (Berkeley), and then two schools in the T20 (UCLA and USC), and then dipping down further, there's UCI, Hastings, Loyola, Pepperdine, and so on. It's only firms that really value the T6/T14 prestige or double-clerkship experience and such that really "need" to look out of CA.

Anonymous User
Posts: 299683
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:29 pm

OP, I haven't dealt with all of the firms on your list, so some of this is secondhand, but for what it's worth here are some comments:

Gibson: Having dealt with them as co-counsel a few times, my impression is that associates get substantive early experience but depo/podium experience is harder to get until you are a mid-level or senior. (I don't think that's actually a bad thing.) I hear they have good pro bono support and help get juniors more experience that way.

MTO: Similar to Gibson, in terms of work and early experience. But the culture is pretty different. The best summary I've heard is that MTO is full of lawyers who really enjoyed law school and in many cases would be academics if they weren't at MTO.

Skadden: Skadden is Biglaw incarnate, so I think it's the wrong place if you want early experience. But I have no specific experience with Skadden LA, just NY and DC.

Susman: I think their reputation is overblown on TLS, but they do give early experience, including early trial experience, and have some great lawyers. Be prepared to work like a madman (this is true for all of the pure lit shops/boutiques) and be advised that the competition for a spot is ridiculous.

Boies: There are two Boies offices in LA. The DTLA office is what used to be Caldwell Leslie (which had a very good reputation in the LA area and California generally). The Santa Monica office has been around for a few years and is made up of some lawyers who were previously in Boies' DC and Bay Area offices plus some Wilmer laterals doing IP work. In terms of early experience I would put them as better than Gibson/MTO but a little behind SG, although it depends on the kinds of cases you're doing.

Generally, are you more interested in moving to LA (regardless of where) or getting early experience? There may be a tradeoff, since most of the firms who offer the most early experience are small or midsized.

Anonymous User
Posts: 299683
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:44 am

I practice in LA. A few thoughts:

(1) You are probably not going to get early substantive experience at Skadden (or its big firm peers in LA, e.g., Latham, OMM, etc.) Your chances are slightly better at Gibson (because the culture tends to support getting young associates early substantive experience) and at Quinn (for similar reasons, and also because they will work you to the bone).

(2) HH is very selective but not quite as selective as the people in this thread claim. They dip below the magna cum laude cutoff at HLS (and I imagine below the top 10% at YH as well) and hire people from USC/UCLA who were not at the very top of their class. I do think Susman and MTO are as competitive as folks claim.

(3) Caldwell Leslie was a great shop and I think it is still a great shop after the merger with Boies. You can also look at other boutiques (Bird Marella, Kendall Brill Kelley, Scheper Kim & Harris, etc.) Virtually every year it seems like there is another Irell/Quinn spinoff, so make sure you are keeping abreast of local market news to ensure you are on top of that.

(4) There are some satellite offices of big firms that can be a good fit, although they are hit and miss. My spouse and I are both midlevels at smallish offices of Vault firms in LA, and we have both had plenty of substantive experience (both of us have taken/defended multiple depositions and I have taken witnesses at trial). But you can also end up in an awful situation pretty easily, and you have to be careful if you go this route.

lolwat
Posts: 1051
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby lolwat » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:09 pm

For some really quick research I would look at the Daily Journal's top boutique lists.

I forgot about some of them like LTL which seem to have a reputation of giving their associates trial experience. Lots of people there much more junior than I have at least second-chaired trials ... I've barely been in courtrooms.

Boutique_Associate
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:07 pm

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Boutique_Associate » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:54 pm

I worked at Susman and now work at HH. As someone else pointed out, we're not insanely selective, so top 5% might get you an interview, although we rarely hire from outside the top ten or so (and USC/UCLA). HH is more concerned with hiring a particular type of person.

Overall, I think you might get an interview from one or more of HH, Susman, Gibson, and MTO. But you might not. I'd cast my net wider.

Anonymous User
Posts: 299683
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:23 pm

Boutique_Associate wrote:I worked at Susman and now work at HH. As someone else pointed out, we're not insanely selective, so top 5% might get you an interview, although we rarely hire from outside the top ten or so (and USC/UCLA). HH is more concerned with hiring a particular type of person.

Overall, I think you might get an interview from one or more of HH, Susman, Gibson, and MTO. But you might not. I'd cast my net wider.


Wait, so Susman/HH considers top 5% from T20? I was under the impression that Susman and MTO at least wouldn't bother dipping outside the T6/Berk, and even then you need ~top 10% grades at T6 or something.

Has anybody from a non-USC/UCLA T20 gotten a job at one of those LA boutiques? Even as #1?

lolwat
Posts: 1051
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby lolwat » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Wait, so Susman/HH considers top 5% from T20? I was under the impression that Susman and MTO at least wouldn't bother dipping outside the T6/Berk, and even then you need ~top 10% grades at T6 or something.

Has anybody from a non-USC/UCLA T20 gotten a job at one of those LA boutiques? Even as #1?


I didn't get an offer, but I interviewed with Susman and I'm from a non-USC/UCLA T20. It might have been (or more likely "was") a more uphill battle, but I don't think they'd waste their time with an interview if they would have just categorically rejected me because of my school. Don't have first-hand info about HH.

Boutique_Associate
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:07 pm

Re: Litigation Associate Positions in Los Angeles

Postby Boutique_Associate » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Boutique_Associate wrote:I worked at Susman and now work at HH. As someone else pointed out, we're not insanely selective, so top 5% might get you an interview, although we rarely hire from outside the top ten or so (and USC/UCLA). HH is more concerned with hiring a particular type of person.

Overall, I think you might get an interview from one or more of HH, Susman, Gibson, and MTO. But you might not. I'd cast my net wider.


Wait, so Susman/HH considers top 5% from T20? I was under the impression that Susman and MTO at least wouldn't bother dipping outside the T6/Berk, and even then you need ~top 10% grades at T6 or something.

Has anybody from a non-USC/UCLA T20 gotten a job at one of those LA boutiques? Even as #1?


I was talking about HH, not Susman, I should have been more precise. At Susman, we rarely considered people outside of the top schools, and if we did, they had a fancy clerkship.

Yes, people have - I'm thinking primarily of Irvine kids. If you mean a non-CA T-20, then I'm not sure.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.