cusenation wrote:did most of you make the "corp or lit" decision after your SA? i'm guessing the issue is much more pressing after we get our offers...but i've been having a lot of trouble trying to pick. How much should our coursework influence our decision? Only ask this because i fucking hated LP.
LP =/= Litigation. Just a foundation for useful skills.
It's hard to answer the Corp v Lit question after 1L unless you had a clear idea coming into school of what you wanted to do on the other side.
I think I talked about the differences a bit before (quoted below for reference)
You get slammed in both but in different ways.
Corporate you are basically on-call. You will have to drop everything and then not sleep for the course of a "deal" and then when it's done you go do bottles and models and rest for a few days.
Litigation ebbs and flows. When it's busy you can't breathe. When it's slow you have anxiety that you aren't going to be making your hours. But it balances out. Until something goes to trial. Then you are slammed so hard that you take a week off after the trial is over because you are useless by the time it's over.
I'll expound a little bit.
Corporate work really feels like something that you don't "need" a legal degree to do. That is most corporate associates have never used WestLaw/Lexis in their practice. In fact most of the corporate group at my firm doesn't even have a login. There are rules, but your practice is a ton of bending over backwards for clients, "making deals" and pushing paper and money around. It reminds me a lot of an investment banker's life. but i'm not corporate
and have only done a few corporate projects, so someone else can correct my limited exposure and perception.
Litigation is straight up lawyering in the sense that judges and courts happen. You research shit on WestLaw/Lexis. You write briefs/motions/etc. You do discovery. You use CivPro. You sometimes even end up at trial. Biglaw litigation feels "less" like litigation because you are so rarely actually in a court room due to the high settlement rate. If you are prosecution or public defense you are in court all the time. If you are in a small shop you'll get exposure to court earlier just because there are so few attorneys.
Should your 1L coursework influence this? I doubt it. CivPro and maybe Contracts are the only things applicable to biglaw. I omit LP because you'll have to heavily adjust your writing to fit the style of particular partners. Torts will be applicable if you are in a small shop doing plaintiff side stuff. Crim if you are prosecutor / public defender (very rare in biglaw since Crim doesn't cover white collar shit).
Should 2L coursework influence this? Take corporations. Most people do anyway. I actually never took it because I knew I wanted to do litigation. Otherwise see what your 1L summer looks like. Try something out and see how you enjoy it as it might push you away from or steer you toward something. If you are doing a 2L summer in biglaw they typically want you to AT LEAST decide if you are doing corporate or litigation. There is usually some room to at least try some of the category that you don't select and I do recommend doing so just so you can be sure. Its much harder to switch after you've been hired on.
But on coursework in law school in general... it gives you a vague background that might be useful in practice but is by and large worthless. I always recommend people just take courses that they think they will find interesting. I mean I took two semesters of a language and a lot of critical theory courses in law school and I wanted to do patent litigation. Go figure.
Hope at least two sentences of this was helpful to someone.