"Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

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nickelanddime
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby nickelanddime » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:38 pm

Two years after I started this thread, I'm back to close the loop. I got the job at the USAO and am quickly approaching my one-year anniversary of starting. It's a cool job, but one that I'm still getting used to.

Despite my good fortune, I still think carving out a sustainable, long-term career as a lawyer is very difficult and should give a lot of law students pause before entering the profession. It took an awful lot of favorable bounces for me to get where I am. And I still have a lot of uncertainty about where I'll be able to go from here (though I'm not going to be looking to move for quite some time).

Taking questions about the USAO or my route there, but I may not answer if doing so would require outtable information.
Last edited by nickelanddime on Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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zot1
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby zot1 » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:53 pm

I enjoy what I do and yet I don't think I'd want to do it long term. Never thought I'd feel this way. And it doesn't mean I'll actually leave one day. But I just wanted to second your comment.

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UnicornHunter
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby UnicornHunter » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:12 pm

nickelanddime wrote:Two years after I started this thread, I'm back to close the loop. I got the job at the USAO and am quickly approaching my one-year anniversary of starting. It's a cool job, but one that I'm still getting used to.

Despite my good fortunate, I still think carving out a sustainable, long-term career as a lawyer is very difficult and should give a lot of law students pause before entering the profession. It took an awful lot of favorable bounces for me to get where I am. And I still have a lot of uncertainty about where I'll be able to go from here (though I'm not going to be looking to move for quite some time).

Taking questions about the USAO or my route there, but I may not answer if doing so would require outtable information.


congrats

Jchance
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby Jchance » Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:29 am

for OP and those interested, I recommend reading Kronman's Living in the Law (http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2061&context=fss_papers), it might help answering deep questions about law as a career.

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grand inquisitor
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby grand inquisitor » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:29 am

do you think the layers of bureaucracy and your ability to steer your cases were greater at the boutique or the u.s. attorney's office?

nickelanddime
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby nickelanddime » Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:00 am

Jchance wrote:for OP and those interested, I recommend reading Kronman's Living in the Law (http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2061&context=fss_papers), it might help answering deep questions about law as a career.



Thanks. To clarify, I didn't mean to suggest that my current job isn't a sustainable, long-term job. (I'm still figuring out if it is.) I just meant that even if it is, it's one of the few for litigators and I can't identify any clear path here, outside of "get lucky."
Last edited by nickelanddime on Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

nickelanddime
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby nickelanddime » Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:02 am

grand inquisitor wrote:do you think the layers of bureaucracy and your ability to steer your cases were greater at the boutique or the u.s. attorney's office?


USAO by far. The supervisor-AUSA relationship is different than the partner-associate relationship. Here, supervisors exist primarily to help you rather than tell you what to do.

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Yukos
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby Yukos » Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:19 pm

I understand if you don't want to be this specific, but if you're comfortable answering, are you on the civil or criminal side of the USAO you're in?

nickelanddime
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby nickelanddime » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:28 pm

Yukos wrote:I understand if you don't want to be this specific, but if you're comfortable answering, are you on the civil or criminal side of the USAO you're in?


Criminal

HeedMyWarning
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby HeedMyWarning » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:26 pm

What made you leave big law and how did the work at big law compare to your boutique?

andythefir
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby andythefir » Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:31 pm

nickelanddime wrote:Two years after I started this thread, I'm back to close the loop. I got the job at the USAO and am quickly approaching my one-year anniversary of starting. It's a cool job, but one that I'm still getting used to.

Despite my good fortune, I still think carving out a sustainable, long-term career as a lawyer is very difficult and should give a lot of law students pause before entering the profession. It took an awful lot of favorable bounces for me to get where I am. And I still have a lot of uncertainty about where I'll be able to go from here (though I'm not going to be looking to move for quite some time).

Taking questions about the USAO or my route there, but I may not answer if doing so would require outtable information.


What is it that takes getting used to? Does it live up to the hype?

Doeydo42
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby Doeydo42 » Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:19 pm

Could you say a few words on your interview process for the boutique? (e.g., whether the interviews were similar to the biglaw process, or whether the questions were especially substantive).

FascinatedWanderer
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:46 pm

I did callbacks with a few firms that would fit the description of "elite litigation boutique" during 2L OCI and I found the callbacks to be pretty much the same, with a bit more focus on legal work I did 1L summer.

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jbagelboy
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:59 pm

Doeydo42 wrote:Could you say a few words on your interview process for the boutique? (e.g., whether the interviews were similar to the biglaw process, or whether the questions were especially substantive).


If you are coming in as a 3rd or 4th year associate or after a couple years of clerking, you will likely have twice as many interviews when you come into the office (a full day) and possibly be encouraged to meet with additional folks outside the office. But the fundamentals are the same.

nickelanddime
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby nickelanddime » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:11 pm

Resurrecting this thread to make two observations.

The first concerns the earlier discussion about the long-term viability of litigation boutiques. last year, Bancroft got folded into biglaw, and over the last few years, KVN has exploded in size (and specifically, number of associates). Neither of those are bad things, but I'd guess that the associates that signed on are getting something a little bit different than what they expected.

Being an AUSA is great, and for me, it does live up to the hype. But I have colleagues who saw this as just another brass ring (i.e., they don't care about the mission), and are now sort of miserable because (1) the job is stressful, especially if you don't have a good relationship with your immediate supervisor, and (2) the exit opps, even from big offices, aren't what they used to be. So if you're after this job because you think it's the next logical, profit-maximizing step after clerking and biglaw, you may end up disappointed.

Bach-City
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby Bach-City » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:39 pm

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Last edited by Bach-City on Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

TheProsecutor
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby TheProsecutor » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:44 pm

nickelanddime wrote:Resurrecting this thread to make two observations.

The first concerns the earlier discussion about the long-term viability of litigation boutiques. last year, Bancroft got folded into biglaw, and over the last few years, KVN has exploded in size (and specifically, number of associates). Neither of those are bad things, but I'd guess that the associates that signed on are getting something a little bit different than what they expected.

Being an AUSA is great, and for me, it does live up to the hype. But I have colleagues who saw this as just another brass ring (i.e., they don't care about the mission), and are now sort of miserable because (1) the job is stressful, especially if you don't have a good relationship with your immediate supervisor, and (2) the exit opps, even from big offices, aren't what they used to be. So if you're after this job because you think it's the next logical, profit-maximizing step after clerking and biglaw, you may end up disappointed.


Yeah, you're probably not going to make partner after being a line AUSA. Its even difficult to convince firms to take you on as a counsel/non-equity these days. If you are going to be an AUSA then these days it means its a career

run26.2
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby run26.2 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:15 pm

TheProsecutor wrote:
nickelanddime wrote:Resurrecting this thread to make two observations.

The first concerns the earlier discussion about the long-term viability of litigation boutiques. last year, Bancroft got folded into biglaw, and over the last few years, KVN has exploded in size (and specifically, number of associates). Neither of those are bad things, but I'd guess that the associates that signed on are getting something a little bit different than what they expected.

Being an AUSA is great, and for me, it does live up to the hype. But I have colleagues who saw this as just another brass ring (i.e., they don't care about the mission), and are now sort of miserable because (1) the job is stressful, especially if you don't have a good relationship with your immediate supervisor, and (2) the exit opps, even from big offices, aren't what they used to be. So if you're after this job because you think it's the next logical, profit-maximizing step after clerking and biglaw, you may end up disappointed.


Yeah, you're probably not going to make partner after being a line AUSA. Its even difficult to convince firms to take you on as a counsel/non-equity these days. If you are going to be an AUSA then these days it means its a career

Assuming this is true, wow, I'm surprised how quickly things have changed. I sort of assumed this was a pretty well-worn path back to a firm. Any insight into why AUSAs have become less attractive?

TheProsecutor
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby TheProsecutor » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:14 pm

run26.2 wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:
nickelanddime wrote:Resurrecting this thread to make two observations.

The first concerns the earlier discussion about the long-term viability of litigation boutiques. last year, Bancroft got folded into biglaw, and over the last few years, KVN has exploded in size (and specifically, number of associates). Neither of those are bad things, but I'd guess that the associates that signed on are getting something a little bit different than what they expected.

Being an AUSA is great, and for me, it does live up to the hype. But I have colleagues who saw this as just another brass ring (i.e., they don't care about the mission), and are now sort of miserable because (1) the job is stressful, especially if you don't have a good relationship with your immediate supervisor, and (2) the exit opps, even from big offices, aren't what they used to be. So if you're after this job because you think it's the next logical, profit-maximizing step after clerking and biglaw, you may end up disappointed.


Yeah, you're probably not going to make partner after being a line AUSA. Its even difficult to convince firms to take you on as a counsel/non-equity these days. If you are going to be an AUSA then these days it means its a career

Assuming this is true, wow, I'm surprised how quickly things have changed. I sort of assumed this was a pretty well-worn path back to a firm. Any insight into why AUSAs have become less attractive?


definitely. firms are greedy and AUSAs don't have a book of business. Partners with no criminal investigations experience pretend they can run investigations and market themselves as such.

nickelanddime
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby nickelanddime » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:03 am

TheProsecutor wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
TheProsecutor wrote:
nickelanddime wrote:Resurrecting this thread to make two observations.

The first concerns the earlier discussion about the long-term viability of litigation boutiques. last year, Bancroft got folded into biglaw, and over the last few years, KVN has exploded in size (and specifically, number of associates). Neither of those are bad things, but I'd guess that the associates that signed on are getting something a little bit different than what they expected.

Being an AUSA is great, and for me, it does live up to the hype. But I have colleagues who saw this as just another brass ring (i.e., they don't care about the mission), and are now sort of miserable because (1) the job is stressful, especially if you don't have a good relationship with your immediate supervisor, and (2) the exit opps, even from big offices, aren't what they used to be. So if you're after this job because you think it's the next logical, profit-maximizing step after clerking and biglaw, you may end up disappointed.


Yeah, you're probably not going to make partner after being a line AUSA. Its even difficult to convince firms to take you on as a counsel/non-equity these days. If you are going to be an AUSA then these days it means its a career

Assuming this is true, wow, I'm surprised how quickly things have changed. I sort of assumed this was a pretty well-worn path back to a firm. Any insight into why AUSAs have become less attractive?


definitely. firms are greedy and AUSAs don't have a book of business. Partners with no criminal investigations experience pretend they can run investigations and market themselves as such.



I didn't mean to say that being an AUSA is a dead-end job and I hope that's not TheProsecutor's experience either. I still think it's one of the few jobs that gives you instant credibility as a competent litigator (even if that may or may not be the case). I also think that if you want to be a litigation partner at a big firm, you're probably better off with a stint as an AUSA (or with a different government agency) than you would be if you just stayed in private practice. It's just that even with experience at a USAO, your odds of making partner at a big firm (or at a small firm that pays big firm money) are not that great. Even supervisory AUSAs with 10+ years of experience typically go in as counsel. And most AUSAs go back to the firm that they came from, and where they already have established relationships.

I think the time period during which line AUSAs could walk into partnership positions at big firms was actually pretty limited (roughly the aughts). Before that, most big firms didn't have any need for them because they didn't touch white collar cases and government investigations. Now, big firms have staffed up their practices with former AUSAs and don't need any more.

So why isn't it a dead-end job? Like I said earlier, I still think it's one of the few jobs that gives you a lot of credibility. People go to smaller firms, in-house, universities (both in-house and academia), non-profits, and strike out on their own. Tech companies, in particular, are hiring AUSAs with some regularity.

Even these aren't automatic. You can't assume that these opportunities will be available to you if you spend 3 years doing illegal reentry and low-level drug cases. The marketable experience seems to be complex investigations (doesn't have to be white collar---lots of narcotics/terrorism cases are equally as complex) and CHIP (Computer Hacking and IP) cases. And to get that marketable experience, you'll have to work hard, pay your dues, and cultivate good relationships with your supervisors and client agencies.

All this to say, even as an AUSA, the hustle isn't over if you're trying to carve out a long-term career. It's just that the hustle is a lot more interesting and personally rewarding than it was at the law firm, with a more manageable schedule to boot.
Last edited by nickelanddime on Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

FascinatedWanderer
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:06 am

Definitely depends on the office. A slew of AUSAs from a major, major office I know just left and landed very cushy jobs as partners at major firms.

nickelanddime
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby nickelanddime » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:12 am

FascinatedWanderer wrote:Definitely depends on the office. A slew of AUSAs from a major, major office I know just left and landed very cushy jobs as partners at major firms.


There are people that have done that from my office too. But they were almost all law firm partners before they came back to the office in supervisory capacities. I'm speaking about the exit opps for people in my position: those who came in as a relatively new attorney and have not yet climbed to the supervisor ranks. I'd be surprised if there are slews of AUSAs in this position walking into partnerships.

FascinatedWanderer
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Re: "Elite Litigation Boutique" burnout taking questions

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:17 am

nickelanddime wrote:
FascinatedWanderer wrote:Definitely depends on the office. A slew of AUSAs from a major, major office I know just left and landed very cushy jobs as partners at major firms.


There are people that have done that from my office too. But they were almost all law firm partners before they came back to the office in supervisory capacities. I'm speaking about the exit opps for people in my position: those who came in as a relatively new attorney and have not yet climbed to the supervisor ranks. I'd be surprised if there are slews of AUSAs in this position walking into partnerships.


2 of the ones I know actually joined the USAO as associates from firms and were there until just now. But I have to confess I did not realize it was such a crapshoot. I always assumed line AUSAs at the major offices could sleepwalk into an of counsel position.




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