Biglaw lawyer taking questions

(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.
3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Mon May 17, 2010 11:15 pm

nooyyllib wrote:
I'm probably going to end up at a t2 school unless my waitlist situation works out. I was always interested in biglaw and was just wondering what my prospect would be from a t2. I'm not trying to measure up to any type of law school students. I'm just genuinely interested.

I don't know if you would know the answer to this question but, do you see any improvement within 3-4 years in biglaw (job-wise)?


It wasn't so much your question as VegasRebel's. As for improvement in 3-4 years, sure I see improvement, but I think for the most part firms are going to be more cautious in hiring for a good long time. It'll pick up a bit, but I think the days of 100 person associate classes from firms throughout the Vault rankings may not ever come back.

letsgo
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 4:59 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby letsgo » Mon May 17, 2010 11:23 pm

3rdYrLitigator wrote:
nooyyllib wrote:This thread is amazing. Thanks for taking questions.

3rd, does your firm have any associates from upper tier2 schools (in the 60s)? If yes, how do they generally fare?


Yes, what do you mean how do they generally fare? As far as I can tell, once you're in you're in. Your school doesn't really matter after that. However, I will say that I don't think we're recruiting anymore at the lower ranked local schools. I think the odds of getting as summer position from those schools is significantly lower than it was just a few years ago.


What is considered a high ranking school....T14,T25,T30?
Thanks for taking questions

sjedood
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:06 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby sjedood » Mon May 17, 2010 11:36 pm

I have not read through the entire thread, but I assume you are in a big market. I am in a position where I have been accepted to Fordham and Cardozo, with Fordham giving me no scholarship and Cardozo giving me full. Given what you have seen in the legal market, would you suggest that going to school debt free is a better decision in this economy. I know one must be in the top of their class at either of these schools to get into biglaw, but my concern is employment in general, even if that means midsized to boutique firms.

User avatar
ZXCVBNM
Posts: 422
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:45 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby ZXCVBNM » Mon May 17, 2010 11:44 pm

I'm at Fordham so I'm biased but most will agree that you'll have an advantage at Fordham over Cardozo. At dozo you're talking top 5%-10% for biglaw right now whereas at fordham top 15% maybe even 20% have at least a shot. That's a big difference.

User avatar
Vegas_Rebel
Posts: 327
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:18 am

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby Vegas_Rebel » Mon May 17, 2010 11:53 pm

3rdYrLitigator wrote:From my personal experience I think that there are certain superstar associates that everyone knows of, those associates seem to disproportionately come from top schools even accounting for the fact that most associates came from top schools. I think there's no difference in the work product among the vast middle of the associate ranks. In the few instances where I've been disappointed when I've reviewed a younger associate's work, it seemed that it was primarily from associates from lower ranked schools, now that I think about it. I should note that I've only had that happen a few times so it's really too small a sample size for any kind of conclusions.


Thanks very much, for this answer in particular and the whole thread in general.

sjedood
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:06 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby sjedood » Tue May 18, 2010 12:12 am

ZXCVBNM wrote:I'm at Fordham so I'm biased but most will agree that you'll have an advantage at Fordham over Cardozo. At dozo you're talking top 5%-10% for biglaw right now whereas at fordham top 15% maybe even 20% have at least a shot. That's a big difference.

Yea, and I know this. But is the extra 5%-15% really worth 120K? Also, if your in the top 15 percent at Cardozo, you will get a good job, perhaps not at a V50, but at a solid place.

nimhnimh
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:18 am

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby nimhnimh » Tue May 18, 2010 7:24 pm

1) I know it's almost impossible to get a 1L summer gig at a large firm. I'm a black male 0L going to CCN. Will this help at all?
2) I know people (usually minorities) transition out of Biglaw between the 4th-6th years and go in-house. How does this process work? How do you make it clear to a client that you want to work for them? Is the salary comparable?
3) Do biglaw firms actually try to actively recruit URMs or is simply a window-dressing?

Thank you.

User avatar
Core
Posts: 977
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:09 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby Core » Wed May 19, 2010 10:00 pm

nimhnimh wrote:1) I know it's almost impossible to get a 1L summer gig at a large firm. I'm a black male 0L going to CCN. Will this help at all?
2) I know people (usually minorities) transition out of Biglaw between the 4th-6th years and go in-house. How does this process work? How do you make it clear to a client that you want to work for them? Is the salary comparable?
3) Do biglaw firms actually try to actively recruit URMs or is simply a window-dressing?

Thank you.

I don't remember which page but he mentioned earlier that firms do in fact actively seek minorities, and that URMs are truly underrepresented.
Hope this helps.

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Thu May 20, 2010 10:35 pm

sjedood wrote:I have not read through the entire thread, but I assume you are in a big market. I am in a position where I have been accepted to Fordham and Cardozo, with Fordham giving me no scholarship and Cardozo giving me full. Given what you have seen in the legal market, would you suggest that going to school debt free is a better decision in this economy. I know one must be in the top of their class at either of these schools to get into biglaw, but my concern is employment in general, even if that means midsized to boutique firms.


I'd be careful about the Cardozo scholarships, I've heard a lot of Cardozo students lose their scholarships so I'd ask about that. All things considered, I'd be hard pressed to pass up no debt in this economy. Are you interested in patent law? I understand that Cardozo IP students do ok placement wise, but I've only heard that anecdotally.

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Thu May 20, 2010 10:40 pm

nimhnimh wrote:1) I know it's almost impossible to get a 1L summer gig at a large firm. I'm a black male 0L going to CCN. Will this help at all?
2) I know people (usually minorities) transition out of Biglaw between the 4th-6th years and go in-house. How does this process work? How do you make it clear to a client that you want to work for them? Is the salary comparable?
3) Do biglaw firms actually try to actively recruit URMs or is simply a window-dressing?

Thank you.


1. It may help, but I really there may only be a few dozen 1L summer positions nationwide. In my experience a good number of those go to the sons and daughters of major clients, or otherwise connected 1Ls, so you'll be fighting of a handful of jobs.

2. In house salary is generally lower 120K range or so. The process depends on the company, sometimes it's a matter of working closely with the in-house lawyers and then finding out through them about an opening, other people just apply blindly to in house positions and get lucky. Occasionally a client will ask a partner for a recommendation.

3. As far as I can tell, they actively recruit URMS.

halfwaygone
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 1:58 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby halfwaygone » Sun May 23, 2010 12:52 am

From what you say, it seems you go more with the T14 or bust philosophy... Is a strong regional school an option for Biglaw in secondary markets? I don't want t *have* to move after graduation, as I'm going to LS at 26 (29 for graduation) and I'd like to start forming a life, without thinking I'm just going to uproot in 3 years. I also don't want to live in LA, NYC, or Chicago. I could maybe do D.C. but even that feels a little "eh."

I could crack the T14 (high LSAT, slightly low GPA), but most of the ones I've got the best shots at are in cities I hate. I am applying to Virginia and Penn, but my preferences actually lean towards UNC, Emory, UWash, UTexas, WUSTL, or the University of Minnesota -- all places I'd stay in-market after graduation, ideally. Is that career suicide? Or, if I plan on staying in-market in that area, is it still a viable option?

Omerta
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:47 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby Omerta » Sun May 23, 2010 1:29 am

3rdYrLitigator wrote:From what you say, it seems you go more with the T14 or bust philosophy... Is a strong regional school an option for Biglaw in secondary markets? I don't want t *have* to move after graduation, as I'm going to LS at 26 (29 for graduation) and I'd like to start forming a life, without thinking I'm just going to uproot in 3 years. I also don't want to live in LA, NYC, or Chicago. I could maybe do D.C. but even that feels a little "eh."

I could crack the T14 (high LSAT, slightly low GPA), but most of the ones I've got the best shots at are in cities I hate. I am applying to Virginia and Penn, but my preferences actually lean towards UNC, Emory, UWash, UTexas, WUSTL, or the University of Minnesota -- all places I'd stay in-market after graduation, ideally. Is that career suicide? Or, if I plan on staying in-market in that area, is it still a viable option?


Yes it is career suicide to go to a school outside the T14. As soon as you get to 15 you're completely fucked but there's no way you could go wrong with Georgetown. Questions like these have been answered a thousandfold over and asking a random litigator isn't going to change the well-known consensus. God forbid you go to UT-Austin and try to get a job in Texas.

Questions: Have you found any ridiculous things going through correspondence during your doc review days?

Is there a minimum level (A,P,SP) before it becomes appropriate to wear cufflinks? An associate I worked under in a firm was mercilessly mocked for busting them out.

Do many people at your particular firm golf? Are they good? Is golf a common firm activity/means of client recruitment and relations?

halfwaygone
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri May 21, 2010 1:58 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby halfwaygone » Sun May 23, 2010 2:00 am

Yes it is career suicide to go to a school outside the T14. As soon as you get to 15 you're completely fucked but there's no way you could go wrong with Georgetown. Questions like these have been answered a thousandfold over and asking a random litigator isn't going to change the well-known consensus. God forbid you go to UT-Austin and try to get a job in Texas.


I was surprised to see it repeatedly, as a theme throughout the thread, that his firm hires T14 almost exclusively. I included the city data since I have no idea where the OP is. Since he didn't mention his region, I thought maybe he just wasn't referring to strong regional schools. Most practicing lawyers I know (in Florida, admittedly, where there's little T14 competition, and not where I want to live) have said regional is more important than rank, but I'm interested in what someone in a main market sees as the trend.

Sorry if I got wordy about it, but I've asked the same of many working lawyers in person... and, unlike you suggest, I can't seem to see a well-known consensus. Every actual person, who is a lawyer, that I've asked in person has said one thing (Go to school where you want to practice), and yet common knowledge online seems to say the other (T14 or bust, and as highly ranked as you can). Granted, I've never been able to ask/meet someone who went to a T10 school, so that might be the difference.

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Sun May 23, 2010 8:24 am

halfwaygone wrote:I was surprised to see it repeatedly, as a theme throughout the thread, that his firm hires T14 almost exclusively. I included the city data since I have no idea where the OP is. Since he didn't mention his region, I thought maybe he just wasn't referring to strong regional schools. Most practicing lawyers I know (in Florida, admittedly, where there's little T14 competition, and not where I want to live) have said regional is more important than rank, but I'm interested in what someone in a main market sees as the trend.

Sorry if I got wordy about it, but I've asked the same of many working lawyers in person... and, unlike you suggest, I can't seem to see a well-known consensus. Every actual person, who is a lawyer, that I've asked in person has said one thing (Go to school where you want to practice), and yet common knowledge online seems to say the other (T14 or bust, and as highly ranked as you can). Granted, I've never been able to ask/meet someone who went to a T10 school, so that might be the difference.


If you want to work in a secondary market, then I would assume that strong regional is fine. I think most of my prior comments were in reference to the major markets (DC, NY, Chicago, LA and SF). When I say T14, I mostly use it as shorthand for a top school which may extend to the top 20 or 25 in actual rankings depending on the firm. I do know that my firm used to recruit at local schools outside the top 25 or so, but no longer does so. However, that is for the major markets, we don't really have secondary market offices.

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Sun May 23, 2010 8:28 am

Omerta wrote:Yes it is career suicide to go to a school outside the T14. As soon as you get to 15 you're completely fucked but there's no way you could go wrong with Georgetown. Questions like these have been answered a thousandfold over and asking a random litigator isn't going to change the well-known consensus. God forbid you go to UT-Austin and try to get a job in Texas.

Questions: Have you found any ridiculous things going through correspondence during your doc review days?

Is there a minimum level (A,P,SP) before it becomes appropriate to wear cufflinks? An associate I worked under in a firm was mercilessly mocked for busting them out.

Do many people at your particular firm golf? Are they good? Is golf a common firm activity/means of client recruitment and relations?


I haven't actually had to do all that much doc review, but I have found some strange things.

Depends on the cuff links. If they aren't flashy I doubt anyone would make fun of you at any level, and I've seen associates wearing them and didn't think much of it. As soon as you're a partner you can pretty much do whatever you want, as far as I can tell.

People golf, but it's not a big social activity where partners are always out golfing with clients or each other.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273567
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 23, 2010 10:01 am

From my personal experience I think that there are certain superstar associates that everyone knows of, those associates seem to disproportionately come from top schools even accounting for the fact that most associates came from top schools. I think there's no difference in the work product among the vast middle of the associate ranks. In the few instances where I've been disappointed when I've reviewed a younger associate's work, it seemed that it was primarily from associates from lower ranked schools, now that I think about it. I should note that I've only had that happen a few times so it's really too small a sample size for any kind of conclusions.


That makes sense. The kind of person who becomes a superstar associate is likely to be good at almost everything he/she does. So this person will do great on the LSAT, get good grades in undergrad, know how to write an admissions essay, and get into a great school.

But the vast majority of people are good at some things and not so good at other things. Depending on how their particular skill set lines up against the particular demands of their undergraduate exams and the LSAT, they may or may not get into a top school.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273567
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 23, 2010 11:01 am

Have you ever had to do anything within the bounds of the code of professional conduct but outside your own personal comfort level?

User avatar
doyleoil
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 2:59 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby doyleoil » Sun May 23, 2010 11:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:Have you ever had to do anything within the bounds of the code of professional conduct but outside your own personal comfort level?


i don't want to speak for mr. lawyer, but i have heard that too much time on the computer can put a strain on your eyes and wrists - that could definitely be uncomfortable for almost anyone

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Sun May 23, 2010 12:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Have you ever had to do anything within the bounds of the code of professional conduct but outside your own personal comfort level?


I haven't. I think at most well regarded biglaw firms, people err on the side of caution. For example, if there's a question on whether to disclose something and it's a gray area, the answer is always disclose. Lawyers in general are risk adverse, so if it's questionable most lawyers will err on the safe side. Biglaw lawyers are probably more risk adverse than most. Also, because I work in general lit. most of my work involves corporate disputes. You don't really get the same type of ethical dilemmas that may come up in white collar or criminal work.

User avatar
crazycanuck
Posts: 3047
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:04 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby crazycanuck » Sun May 23, 2010 4:53 pm

How does your firm view former big 4 employees?

Omerta
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:47 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby Omerta » Mon May 24, 2010 8:00 pm

halfwaygone wrote:
Yes it is career suicide to go to a school outside the T14. As soon as you get to 15 you're completely fucked but there's no way you could go wrong with Georgetown. Questions like these have been answered a thousandfold over and asking a random litigator isn't going to change the well-known consensus. God forbid you go to UT-Austin and try to get a job in Texas.


I was surprised to see it repeatedly, as a theme throughout the thread, that his firm hires T14 almost exclusively. I included the city data since I have no idea where the OP is. Since he didn't mention his region, I thought maybe he just wasn't referring to strong regional schools. Most practicing lawyers I know (in Florida, admittedly, where there's little T14 competition, and not where I want to live) have said regional is more important than rank, but I'm interested in what someone in a main market sees as the trend.

Sorry if I got wordy about it, but I've asked the same of many working lawyers in person... and, unlike you suggest, I can't seem to see a well-known consensus. Every actual person, who is a lawyer, that I've asked in person has said one thing (Go to school where you want to practice), and yet common knowledge online seems to say the other (T14 or bust, and as highly ranked as you can). Granted, I've never been able to ask/meet someone who went to a T10 school, so that might be the difference.


Yeah sorry I sounded like a bit of a dick when I first wrote that out but you specifically excluded D.C., NY, Chicago, and LA so your question was kind of a tautology in the sense that you asked "Is a strong regional school considered strong in the region its in?" I'm also fairly sure that earlier in the thread s/he mentioned that s/he was in a major market.

It seems the big preponderance of people on this board are gunning towards NY/DC/Chicago to begin with and so you see a lot more of a T14 focus because that's what you need to break into respectable law in those markets. I'm from Florida too (Orlando) too and it's pretty apparent that the academic pedigree isn't as necessary here relative to the major markets.

User avatar
Core
Posts: 977
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:09 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby Core » Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Bumping to keep this alive.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273567
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 26, 2010 2:41 am

Thank you again for sticking with this thread...incredibly insightful advice that is unfortunately very rare

I have a question about interviewing (I know you mentioned that you were not on the hiring committee but your general feel would be appreciated)

OCI seems like it will again be tough this fall. I am straight from UG so I am concerned about my lack of work experience (the Dean of CS has told me as much). Jobs that pay 160K upon graduation are no joke - I can understand an employer's reluctance to hand them out to someone with no actual experience. So what I can to show them to prove that I have a sincere interest in their firm and have the level of maturity necessary to be a productive and valuable associate? I have researched a lot of firms, looking beyond the obvious salary/training/etc to such things as Chambers rankings and practice summaries. Does it help to say that I studied Finance and have a real interest in Corporate / M&A work (admittedly hit hard in this recession, but finance is always boom and bust)? Basically, what should I avoid saying in an interview to avoid looking like an immature idiot (besides obvious things such as salary information or other obvious information garnered from the firm's website)? Beyond that, what is likely to impress an interviewer? Being average just doesn't seem to cut it these days.

Any thoughts you have would be appreciated - thanks again for the help

3rdYrLitigator
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:52 pm

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Mon May 31, 2010 1:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you again for sticking with this thread...incredibly insightful advice that is unfortunately very rare

I have a question about interviewing (I know you mentioned that you were not on the hiring committee but your general feel would be appreciated)

OCI seems like it will again be tough this fall. I am straight from UG so I am concerned about my lack of work experience (the Dean of CS has told me as much). Jobs that pay 160K upon graduation are no joke - I can understand an employer's reluctance to hand them out to someone with no actual experience. So what I can to show them to prove that I have a sincere interest in their firm and have the level of maturity necessary to be a productive and valuable associate? I have researched a lot of firms, looking beyond the obvious salary/training/etc to such things as Chambers rankings and practice summaries. Does it help to say that I studied Finance and have a real interest in Corporate / M&A work (admittedly hit hard in this recession, but finance is always boom and bust)? Basically, what should I avoid saying in an interview to avoid looking like an immature idiot (besides obvious things such as salary information or other obvious information garnered from the firm's website)? Beyond that, what is likely to impress an interviewer? Being average just doesn't seem to cut it these days.

Any thoughts you have would be appreciated - thanks again for the help


I wouldn't worry about your lack of work experience too much, most law school students don't (although it seems like each year there are more people with WE). I'd consider reaching out to other students who have summered at those firms to get some information about what it was like there (alumni as well). As far as maturity, if you have no real WE I'd try to play up any experience you do have working and managing people, like through school organizations (thought that will probably not count for much). I think having some background in the area in which you want to practice is helpful as well (your finance degree). Do practice interviews, your career services office should have them, and do enough of them to feel confident and comfortable in your interview, but don't come off as entitled. Other than that find out as much about the firm as possible, and have a good reason for why you want to work there over other firms.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273567
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 31, 2010 1:06 pm

Is it harder for international students to get hired?




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.