Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

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utlaw2007
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby utlaw2007 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:08 am

ksllaw wrote:utlaw2007

Just wanted to thank you very much for taking the time to generously share with me and others here about your successful experiences in small law. I feel I've learned so much from you, in particular, (and others on other topics elsewhere) and just wanted to say a sincere and very heartfelt thanks! :D Thank you for your time and thank you for your generosity!

I will be absent from these forums for quite some time starting this weekend through my LSAT date (to concentrate) and will be also looking at other employment/career options, so wanted to just give a big thanks while things are still fresh in my mind. I don't know when/if I'll be back here at TLS.

I wish you all everyone else here lots of success and even fun in your practices! And should I ever reach a place/position of doing what you guys do successfully and can give back and share with others, I certainly would like to.

Thank you again for everything! And that goes for everyone actually. 8) :P :D


Your heartfelt thanks is appreciated. You are very welcome.

mark_gg_daniels
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby mark_gg_daniels » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:07 pm

Some people get into Law to serve the public. Money should mean nothing.

If that's shit law... then where do I sign.

rad lulz
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby rad lulz » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:01 pm

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Last edited by rad lulz on Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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stillwater
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby stillwater » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:49 pm

rad lulz wrote:
mark_gg_daniels wrote:Some people get into Law to serve the public. Money should mean nothing.

lol

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grungy89
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby grungy89 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:10 am

mark_gg_daniels wrote:Some people get into Law to serve the public. Money should mean nothing.

If that's shit law... then where do I sign.


this is fine if you are going for free and have a trust fund or a sugar mama

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stillwater
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby stillwater » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:11 am

grungy89 wrote:
mark_gg_daniels wrote:Some people get into Law to serve the public. Money should mean nothing.

If that's shit law... then where do I sign.


this is fine if you are going for free and have a trust fund or a sugar mama


SHAME ON YOU

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby TheSpanishMain » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:32 pm

Lot of the responses here are pretty helpful. In my (admittedly 0L) mind, I've always wondered how much of the Small Law hate was just a weird part of the TLS collective hive mind. You'll also see people quick to post horror stories of shitty small law work, or lawyers in general flaming out a few years of misery and flapping in the wind. I think TLS is generally good at pointing out that anecdotes are not data, and you shouldn't go to a shitty school expecting to have the atypically good outcome. I just wonder if people are too quick to credit the atypically bad outcome.

kykiske
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby kykiske » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:57 pm

Can someone explain how insurance defense is considered "shitlaw?"

Wouldn't an insurance company/client want to hire qualified lawyers to defend against personal injury claims?

arklaw13
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby arklaw13 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:13 pm

kykiske wrote:Can someone explain how insurance defense is considered "shitlaw?"

Wouldn't an insurance company/client want to hire qualified lawyers to defend against personal injury claims?


No. Most of those claims mean very little to them because they're protected from major liability by coverage limitations anyway. Insurance defense, from what former insurance defense attorneys say, is a depressing, shitty job. Search through XO and you'll find a trove of depressing shit.

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ph14
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby ph14 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:15 pm

arklaw13 wrote:
kykiske wrote:Can someone explain how insurance defense is considered "shitlaw?"

Wouldn't an insurance company/client want to hire qualified lawyers to defend against personal injury claims?


No. Most of those claims mean very little to them because they're protected from major liability by coverage limitations anyway. Insurance defense, from what former insurance defense attorneys say, is a depressing, shitty job. Search through XO and you'll find a trove of depressing shit.


This. Most of your job as an insurance company is to represent the behemoth insurance company against someone who was injured, had an accident, etc., and try and make them recover as little as possible. While it's important that every party have effective counsel, that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be depressing to be the person responsible for making sure that some poor injured grandma got as little recovery as possible under the law.

rad lulz
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby rad lulz » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:21 pm

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Last edited by rad lulz on Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kykiske
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby kykiske » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:55 pm

rad lulz wrote:
arklaw13 wrote:
kykiske wrote:Can someone explain how insurance defense is considered "shitlaw?"

Wouldn't an insurance company/client want to hire qualified lawyers to defend against personal injury claims?


No. Most of those claims mean very little to them because they're protected from major liability by coverage limitations anyway. Insurance defense, from what former insurance defense attorneys say, is a depressing, shitty job. Search through XO and you'll find a trove of depressing shit.

Also lawyers are overhead which can cut into margins so insurance companies nickle and dime you, contest every hour, refuse to pay for printing/research, etc.

Insurance defense firms tend to be run like mills just churning the same type of stuff over and over again as quickly as possible


Got it. Well you learn something new every day.

But I do remember that some firms in my market have an insurance defense practice, but do not exclusively focus on it.

Is it safe to assume there's a difference between a firm that only does insurance defense work, and a firm that has an insurance defense practice along with other strong practice groups?

rad lulz
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby rad lulz » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:40 pm

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5tiliky
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby 5tiliky » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:07 pm

For what it's worth, I am currently a law student and I work at my family's small law firm. We currently have one senior attorney and 3 associates and we handle a pretty diverse array of cases. Our senior attorney has built a pretty solid reputation in criminal defense so the majority of our business is State and Fed criminal defense from DUI to murder and everything in between. For civil stuff, we do a lot of contract cases, evictions, foreclosure defense, and RE related matters.

Pros:
for owners:
- you decide which cases to take and which one are not worth your time- choose your own adventure;
- if you understand customer service you can build your clientele quickly;
- in time, you can make serious money;

for employees:
- more autonomy- you take your cases and work on them however you want;
- you will gain an incredible amount of experience in a short period of time- one of our attorneys has worked here for a year and a half and has already tried 60 cases, criminal and civil. Granted these were not huge multi-million dollar cases, but even seemingly simple, small cases can be interesting and involve complex legal issues that other bad lawyers would not have spotted or would have goofed up. In general, if you are really good at something, it will be immediately apparent and you will be rewarded;
- benefits of working in a small-business atmosphere- no annoying departments, forms for everything, or corporate bureaucracy;
- if you are a hands-on person and are motivated, you can make a big impact;
- working at a small firm will help you immensely if you want to open up your own practice one day.

Cons:
- people on law school forums may look down upon you;
- pay and benefits such as healthcare, 401k, etc. are not as great as with bigger law firms;
- working in a small-business atmosphere is not for everybody- people used to HR, employee handbooks, and departments will feel out of place;
- compatibility of your personality is super important since you are only one of 10 employees instead of one out of a 100;
- you have much more responsibility than someone who just handles one part of a case- you may have to figure out how to handle a case from client intake to trial with very little hand-holding.

The way I see it, in a small practice, the big plus is experience. Handling tons of trials will help you be more persuasive in the courtroom, which will ultimately help you if you ever want to hang up your own shingle. In addition, if you have honed litigation skills, you can eventually become a member of the Fed trial bar and take on sweet cases that that pay in excess of $50,000, which would pay less in State court.

As another poster said, DUI's can be good business if you have a steady stream and if you are any good at it. Like investing, it pays to have both bread and butter cases to pay the bills and also more complex cases that pay more in the long run.

To be clear, I have never worked at a Big law firm, so I can't claim to have first hand experience. However, until about ten years ago, my dad was was a managing partner of another firm that looked and acted more like Big law. They did corporate tort defense for big clients like ComEd, CTA, and the Chicago Park District. That firm made a lot of money but for certain people (my dad) it just wasn't worth the additional headaches that comes with managing a ton of people and space. I think a lot of it comes down to personality.

TheGreatFish
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby TheGreatFish » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:20 am

5tiliky wrote:That firm made a lot of money but for certain people (my dad) it just wasn't worth the additional headaches that comes with managing a ton of people and space. I think a lot of it comes down to personality.


I think more of it comes down to the fact that these are law students who have mostly never worked in big law before. It's strange that people become enamored with big law because in reality, most of the work that an associate at a big law firm will be doing is considered the shit work at other firms. Memo writing, rummaging through boxes looking for important looking documents... It's not exactly high level legal work.

I also notice that the law students who have some understanding of how awful big law can be are expecting to do it for a year or two and then use it as a springboard to get into something better, but again this isn't always realistic. Big law is good at making sure new attorneys stay new attorneys. I recently read a post on another forum from a former big law associate who hung around for about two years before getting laid off. He said he had some advance warning so he was able to start looking for another job before he was unemployed, but as you can imagine there aren't a lot of job openings for two year associates who are really experienced at memo writing and doc review. He actually quit law practice and tried to find employment in another field. No idea how it turned out.

I wouldn't set my expectations high for big law providing a rewarding experience, and I definitely wouldn't anticipate working big law for a year or two and getting out.

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Amity
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby Amity » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:21 am

Not sure how to classify the firm I was offered at…. BL-lite or boutique-ish. It has all the essentials of BL… pay, benefits, Barbri, one month for vacation, offices in three states, BUT fewer than 40 attorneys in any one office. Upside is that most associates make partner inside of 5 years.

IMHO: If a firm pays BL $, it’s BL. If it pays closer to $100K, then mid-law....as the $ and benefits drop then its classification deteriorates.

rad lulz
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby rad lulz » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:59 am

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Last edited by rad lulz on Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

rad lulz
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby rad lulz » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:12 am

TheGreatFish wrote:I also notice that the law students who have some understanding of how awful big law can be are expecting to do it for a year or two and then use it as a springboard to get into something better, but again this isn't always realistic. Big law is good at making sure new attorneys stay new attorneys. I recently read a post on another forum from a former big law associate who hung around for about two years before getting laid off. He said he had some advance warning so he was able to start looking for another job before he was unemployed, but as you can imagine there aren't a lot of job openings for two year associates who are really experienced at memo writing and doc review. He actually quit law practice and tried to find employment in another field. No idea how it turned out.

Whereas every lawyer I've talked to has talked about large firms being good starting point/training for exiting to:

- bigfed
- smaller firms/boutiques
- other large firms
- in-house

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thelawyler
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby thelawyler » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:26 pm

rad lulz wrote:
TheGreatFish wrote:I also notice that the law students who have some understanding of how awful big law can be are expecting to do it for a year or two and then use it as a springboard to get into something better, but again this isn't always realistic. Big law is good at making sure new attorneys stay new attorneys. I recently read a post on another forum from a former big law associate who hung around for about two years before getting laid off. He said he had some advance warning so he was able to start looking for another job before he was unemployed, but as you can imagine there aren't a lot of job openings for two year associates who are really experienced at memo writing and doc review. He actually quit law practice and tried to find employment in another field. No idea how it turned out.

Whereas every lawyer I've talked to has talked about large firms being good starting point/training for exiting to:

- bigfed
- smaller firms/boutiques
- other large firms
- in-house


Also good for exiting to:

- less debt.

TheGreatFish
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby TheGreatFish » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:02 pm

rad lulz wrote:Whereas every lawyer I've talked to has talked about large firms being good starting point/training for exiting to:

- bigfed
- smaller firms/boutiques
- other large firms
- in-house


It is, but only if you put in your time. You shouldn't anticipate that you'll only need to deal with the drudgery of big law for one or two years before making an exit. Pray to be out in three years, but expect five.

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby Kafkaesquire » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:05 pm

I just met a small law attorney a few moments ago. I overheard him talking to his friend at the gym. He was able to leave work today and drive his two little kids and their friends around town (their school had been cancelled due to inclement weather). Sure, he had to drive an American SUV, but when he spends time with his young children, I don't think it should matter whether he's in a foreign car.

I guess one lawyer's shit is another lawyer's treasure.

timbs4339
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby timbs4339 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:55 pm

kykiske wrote:
rad lulz wrote:
arklaw13 wrote:
kykiske wrote:Can someone explain how insurance defense is considered "shitlaw?"

Wouldn't an insurance company/client want to hire qualified lawyers to defend against personal injury claims?


No. Most of those claims mean very little to them because they're protected from major liability by coverage limitations anyway. Insurance defense, from what former insurance defense attorneys say, is a depressing, shitty job. Search through XO and you'll find a trove of depressing shit.

Also lawyers are overhead which can cut into margins so insurance companies nickle and dime you, contest every hour, refuse to pay for printing/research, etc.

Insurance defense firms tend to be run like mills just churning the same type of stuff over and over again as quickly as possible


Got it. Well you learn something new every day.

But I do remember that some firms in my market have an insurance defense practice, but do not exclusively focus on it.

Is it safe to assume there's a difference between a firm that only does insurance defense work, and a firm that has an insurance defense practice along with other strong practice groups?


Many large, prestigious firms have "insurance defense" practices, where they represent large insurance companies in claims by large, institutional policyholders, or against reinsurers, or between insurers to settle mass tort claims, etc. etc. There are also policyholder firms. For example, a bank might sue for coverage on a securities deal gone bad, or a director's and officer's policy. Search Chambers if you want a list of these firms. The day to day is a lot of contract law and statutory interpretation.

What ID refers to is the "people law" version of this, churning out soft tissue claims, or property damage for flooded cars.




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