Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

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vvoc
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Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby vvoc » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:29 pm

so....how do you make the jump from law school to plaintiff attorney? whats the typical route? i am currently applying to law school and merely wanted to hear what i should be planning for...thanks!

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reasonable_man
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Re: Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:39 pm

vvoc wrote:so....how do you make the jump from law school to plaintiff attorney? whats the typical route? i am currently applying to law school and merely wanted to hear what i should be planning for...thanks!


By plaintiff attorney, I'll assume you mean plaintiff personal injury attorney?

Typically, the best way to get into a plaintiff's shop is to clerk for them during law school and hope to hell they hire you afterward. Starting salary is usually in the range of 35k to 50k. Believe it or not, competition for these jobs is pretty intense. Down the line, your starting salary may not increase, but you may either: a) start to get a cut of the fees earned; b) eventually become a partner and share in the profits directly; or c) may decide to strike out on your own, should you feel you have the ability to bring in enough work to sustain yourself.

Try to attend the lowest cost law school option you can and make sure that school is in the region you intend to practice. Personal Injury firms care much less about which school you attend.

Personal injury attorneys can earn anywhere from 35k per year at the very low end to tens of millions per year at the very high end... Getting to the high end is probably far more difficult than making partner at Skadden.

vvoc
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Re: Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby vvoc » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:49 pm

i realize that the high end is a dream, but i am nonetheless confident and interested in pursuing the career...i would like to become a trial lawyer specifically, but how do i leap into that from law school?

also you mentioned attaining a clerk position at a firm...do you typically apply for these after 1L and what is the process like? am i basically left to find the position myself by checking the yellow pages? thanks!

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reasonable_man
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Re: Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:51 pm

vvoc wrote:i realize that the high end is a dream, but i am nonetheless confident and interested in pursuing the career...i would like to become a trial lawyer specifically, but how do i leap into that from law school?

also you mentioned attaining a clerk position at a firm...do you typically apply for these after 1L and what is the process like? am i basically left to find the position myself by checking the yellow pages? thanks!


Emplyoment boards, personal contacts, etc.

No one becomes a 'trial lawyer' out of school. You find whatever job you find and you learn how to litigate (take depositions, file papers, draft motions, etc). Down the line, you may wind up trying your own cases, but this doesn't happen right away. Moreover, 7% or less of all cases are tried..

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Mulliganstew
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Re: Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby Mulliganstew » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:56 pm

I think the whole "trial lawyer" phenomenon is the one thing people don't realize going into law school. Namely, how few cases even end up anywhere near trial thanks to ADR.

vvoc
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Re: Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby vvoc » Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:01 pm

i realize that cases don't actually go to trial too often, however I was merely explaining what i meant by plaintiff attorney, but i guess trial lawyer is no more specific. Basically a lawyer that does not do biglaw and does personal injury or patent law.

gnomehunter42
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Re: Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby gnomehunter42 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:02 pm

I'm not trying to troll or be mean, but here in FL personal injury lawyers seem a dime a dozen. And coming from a family with doctors, they truly irritate me (that's putting it nicely). That said I think you should get internships and such with local firms.

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nealric
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Re: Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby nealric » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:13 pm

1. Pass bar
2. Buy TV ad time
3. ???
4. Profit!

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reasonable_man
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Re: Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:32 pm

nealric wrote:1. Pass bar
2. Buy TV ad time
3. ???
4. Profit!



If op asked 'how do you become an associate at a big firm,' would your response be as douchie?

linquest
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Re: Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby linquest » Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:25 am

vvoc wrote:i realize that cases don't actually go to trial too often, however I was merely explaining what i meant by plaintiff attorney, but i guess trial lawyer is no more specific. Basically a lawyer that does not do biglaw and does personal injury or patent law.


Patent litigation is much more specialized than PI, so you might want to look into that route a little more closely. IP isn't my specialty, but from what I understand, it helps to have a tech background and pass the patent bar even if you want to solely practice patent litigation rather than patent prosecution.

vvoc wrote:also you mentioned attaining a clerk position at a firm...do you typically apply for these after 1L and what is the process like? am i basically left to find the position myself by checking the yellow pages? thanks!


Depends on the firm. Plaintiff-side firms occasionally hire through OCI (on-campus interviews) but pretty infrequently. They're more likely to simply post an ad with Career Services or just let people know through word of mouth. If you want to pro-actively approach firms that haven't advertised, Yellow Pages is certainly one way to go or you can use attorney directories like Martindale-Hubbell (tip: look for "AV-rated" attorneys which have a good reputation with other lawyers).

Old-fashioned networking: Meet attorneys at local bar association events. Join the Law Student Group of the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America). Chase ambulances :wink:

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A'nold
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Re: Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby A'nold » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:56 pm

I'm with you op. This is what I really want to do (as of right now). I'm hoping to either clerk (depending on grades) or land a firm job where I can learn the ropes and prove myself. I hope to work for one of the "good guy" PI attorneys that I've met around here at various functions, not billboard lawyers, haha.

vvoc
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Re: Route to becoming Plaintiff Attorney

Postby vvoc » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:34 pm

ya, why does wanting to be a plaintiff attorney or personal injury attorney pigeon hole you into being on bus stop ads? there are tons of legit plaintiff attorneys...similar to calling all biglaw lawyers douches.




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