Question on biglaw exit options

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rcthebigred1
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Question on biglaw exit options

Postby rcthebigred1 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:24 pm

0L here.

Hypo: You land an associate position with a V10. You work your ass off for 3 years, getting some meaningful experience in the process. Since biglaw is soul-consuming, you want to get out and find something with a better work/life balance. What are your options going to look like?

I know there are in-house positions, but how available are these to someone with only three years of experience?

In general, I'm just wondering about the post-biglaw routes that exist. Any insight on the salary/hours of these positions would be appreciated.

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Bronck
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby Bronck » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:35 pm

rcthebigred1 wrote:0L here.

Hypo: You land an associate position with a V10. You work your ass off for 3 years, getting some meaningful experience in the process. Since biglaw is soul-consuming, you want to get out and find something with a better work/life balance. What are your options going to look like?

I know there are in-house positions, but how available are these to someone with only three years of experience?

In general, I'm just wondering about the post-biglaw routes that exist. Any insight on the salary/hours of these positions would be appreciated.


Yes. IIRC, 2/3 of inhouse positions are corp-related and 1/3 are lit-related. Other options include federal government, lateraling to another firm, etc. There are quite a few threads about this on TLS -- I'd recommend reading through them via the search function.

Robert Half Legal can give you a salary breakdown. I think in NY, attorneys with 4-9 yrs experience have a pre-bonus salary breakdown of something like 150k-200k-250k (25-50-75) for inhouse positions. It's generally a paycut from biglaw, but with better hours, and with less (or no) debt to pay down, it's not like you're going to have to be a miser.

rcthebigred1
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby rcthebigred1 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:17 pm

Thanks. I checked out a lot of those threads. Here's a more narrow question. Assuming you don't make partner at your firm, what is the most lucrative route one could pursue when leaving traditional biglaw? Probably won't ever matter for me, but I'm curious.

ksllaw
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby ksllaw » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:25 pm

rcthebigred1 wrote:Thanks. I checked out a lot of those threads. Here's a more narrow question. Assuming you don't make partner at your firm, what is the most lucrative route one could pursue when leaving traditional biglaw? Probably won't ever matter for me, but I'm curious.


Probably midlaw or in-house.

Government will be tough. There are easily 1,500 applications for 1 position (competing against T14 grads and other top-of-the-class non-T14 grads with years of experience in biglaw, midlaw, etc. as well). At the moment, it may be worse due to a hiring freeze.

In-house may be your best bet, but that also depends on whether what you worked on in biglaw fits their needs.

Disclaimer: 0L

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dingbat
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby dingbat » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:46 pm

rcthebigred1 wrote:Thanks. I checked out a lot of those threads. Here's a more narrow question. Assuming you don't make partner at your firm, what is the most lucrative route one could pursue when leaving traditional biglaw? Probably won't ever matter for me, but I'm curious.

Starting your own firm - if you're succesful, the sky's the limit
Problem is, if you didn't make partner, you probably won't be that successful starting your own firm

ksllaw
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby ksllaw » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:47 pm

here was one perspective: http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot. ... ds-is.html

(an excerpt)
I used to be you, albeit on lawschooldiscussion.org. I heard the stories, but didn’t believe them. Things like this couldn’t happen to me. Well, this is real, and it has been [X] months since my last non-government-issued paycheck. I have always been a happy, well-adjusted person, but this process, including the multitude of rejections, has exacted its toll. Unfortunately, depression has become a reality for me, and I no longer sleep well at night. I’m typically up between the hours of 3 and 6AM, tossing and turning, wondering what, if anything, the future may hold. In a short number of months, my lease expires, and I don’t have the foggiest of clues as to where I will live.

The point of this story isn’t that you shouldn’t go to law school per se. It is, instead, to merely relate my story to you. This story is neither unique nor novel, and similar varieties from the genre afflict a huge percentage of young lawyers out there. As a recruiter at a prestigious placement firm recently told me [BCG, etc.], “you have a top 5%” resume. Well, recall the federal law clerk from Harvard that beat me out for the never-heard-of-it small law firm several months ago—I’m trying to get by with a top 5% resume in a top 1% world. This goes for me, and for those either in law school already or who are considering going, it will apply to you too. As Campos says, there are no special snowflakes.

In medicine, those with top 5% resumes will always be hot shit doctors with highly desirable specialties. In business, the same will be top level executives. In law, well—hello document review.

Last edited by ksllaw on Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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scifiguy
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby scifiguy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:34 pm

http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot. ... ok-at.html

I posted this story in another thread, but this was amazing to me...

Ivy UG
Top 5 Law School
5 Years in Biglaw

..can't find a job after 18 months and 750 rejections. :?: :shock: :?: :shock: :?:

This guy/gal has applied to jobs in lots of sectors (law and outside)..... :cry: and now lives with his dad. :(

mr.hands
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby mr.hands » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:56 pm

ksllaw wrote:
rcthebigred1 wrote:Thanks. I checked out a lot of those threads. Here's a more narrow question. Assuming you don't make partner at your firm, what is the most lucrative route one could pursue when leaving traditional biglaw? Probably won't ever matter for me, but I'm curious.


Probably midlaw or in-house.

Government will be tough. There are easily 1,500 applications for 1 position (competing against T14 grads and other top-of-the-class non-T14 grads with years of experience in biglaw, midlaw, etc. as well). At the moment, it may be worse due to a hiring freeze.

In-house may be your best bet, but that also depends on whether what you worked on in biglaw fits their needs.

Disclaimer: 0L


While odds are pretty bad, you pulled this number *entirely* out of your ass.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:41 pm

mr.hands wrote:
ksllaw wrote:
rcthebigred1 wrote:Thanks. I checked out a lot of those threads. Here's a more narrow question. Assuming you don't make partner at your firm, what is the most lucrative route one could pursue when leaving traditional biglaw? Probably won't ever matter for me, but I'm curious.


Probably midlaw or in-house.

Government will be tough. There are easily 1,500 applications for 1 position (competing against T14 grads and other top-of-the-class non-T14 grads with years of experience in biglaw, midlaw, etc. as well). At the moment, it may be worse due to a hiring freeze.

In-house may be your best bet, but that also depends on whether what you worked on in biglaw fits their needs.

Disclaimer: 0L


While odds are pretty bad, you pulled this number *entirely* out of your ass.

There are honors programs with numbers close to this (I think Labor gets 1000+ for ~5 spots?).

ksllaw
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby ksllaw » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:07 am

mr.hands wrote:
ksllaw wrote:
rcthebigred1 wrote:Thanks. I checked out a lot of those threads. Here's a more narrow question. Assuming you don't make partner at your firm, what is the most lucrative route one could pursue when leaving traditional biglaw? Probably won't ever matter for me, but I'm curious.


Probably midlaw or in-house.

Government will be tough. There are easily 1,500 applications for 1 position (competing against T14 grads and other top-of-the-class non-T14 grads with years of experience in biglaw, midlaw, etc. as well). At the moment, it may be worse due to a hiring freeze.

In-house may be your best bet, but that also depends on whether what you worked on in biglaw fits their needs.

Disclaimer: 0L


While odds are pretty bad, you pulled this number *entirely* out of your ass.


It may vary depending on the position, but I didn't make that number up, unfortunately. If you're interested, you may want to PM or message via a board post user: "CountingDown" at CC (I like the "older" crowd there that helps balance out some of the perspective here at TLS, which is younger. ...CC has biglaw senior associates, biglaw hiring commitee members, biglaw partners, and others who've had experience directly or indirectly in biglaw for decades):
http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/law ... ool-5.html

(see Post #70 for longer)
He now hires folks for his team -- last time he interviewed candidates, he got 1600 resumes for one position. Partners at Big Law, unemployed T-14s with resumes to die for, you name it. It really brought home to him how much the employment outlook has changed. It has become incredibly tough to land a legal job in the gov't these days -- yes, the pay is lower and the life (for many) is less crazed than Big Law, but there are also a ton of people looking for positions.

I think in general you can expect 1,000+ resumes for a single position of any type that is a good job nowadays. One of the things they don't always tell you in college or in career training/recruitment type workshops or fairs is that while there may be great positions out there, there are also thousands competing for that one spot oftentimes.

I mentioned in another post in a different thread a while back that I had a friend who went to apply for a waitress position at a new Chili's in her town and by the time she got there there were already several hundred applications in.

mr.hands
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby mr.hands » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:14 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
mr.hands wrote:
ksllaw wrote:
rcthebigred1 wrote:Thanks. I checked out a lot of those threads. Here's a more narrow question. Assuming you don't make partner at your firm, what is the most lucrative route one could pursue when leaving traditional biglaw? Probably won't ever matter for me, but I'm curious.


Probably midlaw or in-house.

Government will be tough. There are easily 1,500 applications for 1 position (competing against T14 grads and other top-of-the-class non-T14 grads with years of experience in biglaw, midlaw, etc. as well). At the moment, it may be worse due to a hiring freeze.

In-house may be your best bet, but that also depends on whether what you worked on in biglaw fits their needs.

Disclaimer: 0L


While odds are pretty bad, you pulled this number *entirely* out of your ass.

There are honors programs with numbers close to this (I think Labor gets 1000+ for ~5 spots?).


I'm not arguing that there are a lot of people sending in applications. Even if there are prestigious honors programs with a lot of applications, the conclusion doesn't necessarily follow.

- He said "easily 1500 applications for 1 position"
- You said (for a prestigious honors program) "1000 applications for 5 positions"

I don't argue that there are a ton of applications for gov work. There are and it is really really really tough. I am just saying that the estimation of 1500 apps for 1 position in the realm of "government" isn't based in hard data.

We call all agree, however, that gov is not the "fallback" that many think it is. That's definitely true (so your point is well taken)

kryptix
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby kryptix » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:22 am

This doesn't seem that crazy, I mean think about it, since I started working in 2006, I doubt I've ever been on either side of an interview with less than 100 applicants for a position. That's just the way job searches work now with the internet...

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thesealocust
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby thesealocust » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:41 am

OCI your 2L year, or for some people applying to firms after a clerkship, is the last time the optimal job search is a shotgun approach. Once your boots are on the ground, you'll develop (like it or not) a skill set, a network, and a background.

Few employers are eager to hire somebody from A Firm for A Few Years to do Lucrative Legal Work. Generally the needs are much more narrow, and your options will depend on what the market is looking for. Random example: I've heard that fund / investment management lawyers are in such high demand in the DC area that even people with no experience can lateral to firms in DC to do that work. The specialty you wind up in, or your decision to remain a generalist (if that's how you or your firm operate) will be extremely significant.

Litigators are having a much harder time than transactional attorneys. The world still needs litigators, but not as many, and there's a backlog. People are hanging on to their big firm jobs longer meaning less lateral opportunities all around.

In the corporate world, subspecialties are going to mean everything. If you're a corporate tax lawyer, an M&A lawyer, a securities lawyer, a derivatives lawyer, whatever - then you're going to have exposure to a narrow universe of lawyers and employment options. They won't be posted on the 'net - they will be with your clients, with trade groups in your industry, with the regulators in your industry, etc. It doesn't mean you'll get a great job whenever you want one, but it's impossible to speak about it in broad terms. Practice area, geography, and timing mean everything.

If you want to see some neat examples, you can check out revolving door websites and look up registered lobbiests in DC. You'll see people bouncing from firms to agencies and back. That's a narrow universe of "big law exit options" but it gives you an example of how some careers can play out.

Also, keep in mind a very common firm exit option is... another firm. I don't fully understand all the nuances here yet myself, but it's kind of like a big-ass game of plinko. Some firms, notoriously the biggest and "best" NYC firms, rarely hire laterals and bring on ginormous starting classes to train. Other firms bring on people fresh out of law school but otherwise rely heavily on laterals from other firms. To provide another example, I met several senior corporate attorneys in DC who started their career as corporate lawyers in NYC.

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holdencaulfield
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby holdencaulfield » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:02 pm

rcthebigred1 wrote:Thanks. I checked out a lot of those threads. Here's a more narrow question. Assuming you don't make partner at your firm, what is the most lucrative route one could pursue when leaving traditional biglaw? Probably won't ever matter for me, but I'm curious.


Midlaw. Not sure where you are located, but here in Texas it's not hard to lateral to a good midlaw firm after 2-4 years assuming 1) you put out good work product and 2) you are not socially retarded. Midlaw partners I know make anywhere from 150k to over 1 mil depending on practice area, clients, etc. The majority make in 200k-400k.

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Rahviveh
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby Rahviveh » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:26 pm

If you miss out on the in-house boat what kind of salary can you expect from lateralling to a midlaw or boutique firm, especially if you're doing lit? Or where can I find this info? TYIA

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thesealocust
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby thesealocust » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:05 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:If you miss out on the in-house boat what kind of salary can you expect from lateralling to a midlaw or boutique firm, especially if you're doing lit? Or where can I find this info? TYIA


It varies a lot, and there's no solid info. For some "the in-house boat" is what they do when they miss lateraling to midlaw or a boutique firm. Things get very varied, very individualized, and very geography/practice area dependent once you have started.

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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby LaBarrister » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:49 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
mr.hands wrote:
ksllaw wrote:
rcthebigred1 wrote:Thanks. I checked out a lot of those threads. Here's a more narrow question. Assuming you don't make partner at your firm, what is the most lucrative route one could pursue when leaving traditional biglaw? Probably won't ever matter for me, but I'm curious.


Probably midlaw or in-house.

Government will be tough. There are easily 1,500 applications for 1 position (competing against T14 grads and other top-of-the-class non-T14 grads with years of experience in biglaw, midlaw, etc. as well). At the moment, it may be worse due to a hiring freeze.

In-house may be your best bet, but that also depends on whether what you worked on in biglaw fits their needs.

Disclaimer: 0L


While odds are pretty bad, you pulled this number *entirely* out of your ass.

There are honors programs with numbers close to this (I think Labor gets 1000+ for ~5 spots?).


Did you really just try to convey that 200 apps/spot is "close" to 1,500 apps/spot?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:34 am

LaBarrister wrote:Did you really just try to convey that 200 apps/spot is "close" to 1,500 apps/spot?

Chill, dude, I am one of those stereotypical lawyers who went into law because I can't do math, and someone already made your point. In fact, checking the latest numbers, it turns out that last year Labor made no hires out of 1,000+ applicants (although if that's for the 2013 program there are rumors the process still isn't quite done). I think we can all agree that whatever the precise numbers, the jobs are mad competitive.

senorhosh
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby senorhosh » Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:49 am

ksllaw wrote:here was one perspective: http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot. ... ds-is.html
[/i][/color]


scifiguy wrote:http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-reader-suggested-i-take-look-at.html

I posted this story in another thread, but this was amazing to me...

Ivy UG
Top 5 Law School
5 Years in Biglaw

..can't find a job after 18 months and 750 rejections. :?: :shock: :?: :shock: :?:

This guy/gal has applied to jobs in lots of sectors (law and outside)..... :cry: and now lives with his dad. :(


WOW. Is it really that bad out there?

Second guy graduated from Uchi(?), worked in biglaw. I would have guessed he would have at least some decent positions at his disposal. I mean 750 rejection with 5 years as an associate, applying to multiple cities? I'm guessing he must have applied to multiple in-house, mid law positions.

First guy was in IP too. Similar position (though not as bad)
This makes me think twice about law school. I mean even with the high big law placement that T6 schools have, if you're screwed 5 years down the road, what's the point?

Are these anomalies or is this not uncommon? I know it's more difficult to find data on this but anyone know where i can get more info on exit option "placement" per se?

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hume85
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby hume85 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:19 am

thesealocust wrote:OCI your 2L year, or for some people applying to firms after a clerkship, is the last time the optimal job search is a shotgun approach. Once your boots are on the ground, you'll develop (like it or not) a skill set, a network, and a background.

Few employers are eager to hire somebody from A Firm for A Few Years to do Lucrative Legal Work. Generally the needs are much more narrow, and your options will depend on what the market is looking for. Random example: I've heard that fund / investment management lawyers are in such high demand in the DC area that even people with no experience can lateral to firms in DC to do that work. The specialty you wind up in, or your decision to remain a generalist (if that's how you or your firm operate) will be extremely significant.

Litigators are having a much harder time than transactional attorneys. The world still needs litigators, but not as many, and there's a backlog. People are hanging on to their big firm jobs longer meaning less lateral opportunities all around.

In the corporate world, subspecialties are going to mean everything. If you're a corporate tax lawyer, an M&A lawyer, a securities lawyer, a derivatives lawyer, whatever - then you're going to have exposure to a narrow universe of lawyers and employment options. They won't be posted on the 'net - they will be with your clients, with trade groups in your industry, with the regulators in your industry, etc. It doesn't mean you'll get a great job whenever you want one, but it's impossible to speak about it in broad terms. Practice area, geography, and timing mean everything.

If you want to see some neat examples, you can check out revolving door websites and look up registered lobbiests in DC. You'll see people bouncing from firms to agencies and back. That's a narrow universe of "big law exit options" but it gives you an example of how some careers can play out.

Also, keep in mind a very common firm exit option is... another firm. I don't fully understand all the nuances here yet myself, but it's kind of like a big-ass game of plinko. Some firms, notoriously the biggest and "best" NYC firms, rarely hire laterals and bring on ginormous starting classes to train. Other firms bring on people fresh out of law school but otherwise rely heavily on laterals from other firms. To provide another example, I met several senior corporate attorneys in DC who started their career as corporate lawyers in NYC.


You're one of the most helpful posters on this site. I've learned more from your posts than anyone else's. Please don't leave anytime soon.

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scifiguy
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby scifiguy » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:02 pm

from Campos' blog: http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot. ... house.html

Again, is it this bad:

-HYS Law Degree
**Federal Clerkship
++Several Years of V-10 Experience

= unemployment?

This is not my beautiful house

This thread on TFL provides a sobering glimpse into what's happening to both the legal academic hiring market and the market for high-status and otherwise desirable non-entry level lawyer jobs (BigLaw mid-level or senior associate, DOJ/USA/Federal agency jobs, cush in-house gigs with big companies, and so forth).

Hiring partners are generally suspicious of people who tried to bail for academia, are often openly contemptuous of the law school world, and usually have little interest in taking on expensive senior associates with no book of business. Government hiring is either completely frozen or extraordinarily selective at both the federal and state level, and if anything desirable government jobs are now even harder to get than big firm positions. Good in-house positions are coveted by top associates at elite firms, who are in a far better position to get them than itinerant quasi-academics on the lam from BigLaw. Etc.

Long story short: lots of people with golden credentials are doing Visiting Assistant Professor gigs, striking out in the increasingly brutal academic market, and finding that they don't have the option to return to their old jobs or indeed anything similar to their old jobs. The reasons will come as no surprise to anyone who has had much in the way of contact with the contemporary market for lawyers: openings for the kinds of jobs most VAPs had are scarce, and it's an extreme buyer's market. ...

All this produces But I Did Everything Right syndrome on steroids: people with HYS law degrees, appellate court clerkships, several years of experience at V-10 firms, etc. etc., are finding themselves looking at flat-out unemployment, and are coming to the horrifying realization that, in this business of ours, a formerly golden resume starts spoiling faster than a plate of sashimi left out in a tropical sun. (Some current law professors will be finding this out first-hand soon enough).

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scifiguy
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby scifiguy » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:11 pm

This was a post in the discussion at the TFL thread reference above:

I say this as someone in a similar-but-slightly-better situation. I'm not VAPing/fellowing, but I'm also doing a term-limited job. On the plus side, it's much less obvious that I am a failed academic job-seeker (for a couple of plausible reasons), and I have a good bit of meaningful practice experience. And still, a couple of recruiters have said something to the effect of "top 5 law school, federal clerkship, several years of impressive practice experience -- well, I might be able to get you a staff attorney job at a firm."
Last edited by scifiguy on Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:29 pm

The legal academic market is terrible and has been terrible for a while. Except in fields where there are legitimately better industry options (engineering/certain sciences, and oddly, education), all academic markets have been abysmal for generations.

But I don't think you can really use the legal academic market to say very much about the general legal market - because academia anywhere is very very very very competitive, and has been that competitive for longer than the current law employment crisis. And I think it's always been the case that someone who guns for academia, and who has "academia!!!!" written all over their resume, has never been especially appealing to a firm. Unless perhaps pre-academia - you know, go to the firm, get in their 3-5 years, then happily sail off to academia. But having tried to do academia and coming back?I don't think that was ever a very viable career path.

Now, the law employment crisis doesn't help, because as applications tank, law schools will have to cut back/close. And people who don't get academia will have an even harder time getting other jobs because there are fewer of them. But very few people go into academia in the best of times, and I don't think the fact that this group is getting even smaller is the biggest thing to be worrying about in terms of the legal job market.

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scifiguy
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby scifiguy » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:35 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:The legal academic market is terrible and has been terrible for a while. Except in fields where there are legitimately better industry options (engineering/certain sciences, and oddly, education), all academic markets have been abysmal for generations.

But I don't think you can really use the legal academic market to say very much about the general legal market - because academia anywhere is very very very very competitive, and has been that competitive for longer than the current law employment crisis. And I think it's always been the case that someone who guns for academia, and who has "academia!!!!" written all over their resume, has never been especially appealing to a firm. Unless perhaps pre-academia - you know, go to the firm, get in their 3-5 years, then happily sail off to academia. But having tried to do academia and coming back?I don't think that was ever a very viable career path.

Now, the law employment crisis doesn't help, because as applications tank, law schools will have to cut back/close. And people who don't get academia will have an even harder time getting other jobs because there are fewer of them. But very few people go into academia in the best of times, and I don't think the fact that this group is getting even smaller is the biggest thing to be worrying about in terms of the legal job market.


I may be wrong, but I was under the mipression Campos was saying that people without biglaw exit options are taking on academic VAP positions.

And, from there, they are unable to get back into biglaw, nor move into permanent academia.

But the concern was that even people with HYS JD's, federal clerkships, and also several years of biglaw cannot find good exit options.

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scifiguy
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Re: Question on biglaw exit options

Postby scifiguy » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:53 pm

(poster Michael Risch)

I'm not sure if this is the M. Risch I looked up on the internet, but if so, he's got a

+Stanford BA
**UChicago JD
---Partner at Boutique Firm Experience


I removed the above from my earlier post (the one at 6:11PM) after realizing M Risch was the poster ABOVE that one! Sorry. But, nevertheless, the person quoted did have great credentials as well with Top 5 law school, fed. clerkship, etc.




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