So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

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Thelaw23
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby Thelaw23 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:39 am

lawman84 wrote:
Danger Zone wrote:
lawman84 wrote:
Br3v wrote:
lawman84 wrote:
RParadela wrote:I want to be at the highest level for prestige, money, and knowing that I'm at the top of a very selective field. To be successful I guess. It might sound a little shallow, but that's what I want out of a career (again, in reasonable limits).

Not sure what I want to do in litigation.. I figured I'd get to law school and figure it out from there.


That's kind of the problem I'm getting at. Biglaw isn't really the top of a very selective field. It's simply a business model. There is a "top" of the lawyer field (to some degree). But it doesn't really revolve around the size of your firm. It's more based on ability, reputation, and perception.

But you have plenty of time to figure out what's right for you.

Idk, I don't think it's crazy to say the "top" lawyers are at a big law firm. That doesn't mean all big law lawyers are better than non big law lawyers, but to the extent some lawyers are at the "top," they are likely to be in big law. You just have bigger clients and deals/cases there.


In corporate, possibly. I don't know a lot about corporate. It would make sense because that's where the big deals are. I wouldn't agree that it's true for litigation.

Look at the thread title


This conversation wasn't limited to corporate work.

RParadela wrote:I'm not disagreeing with you there, although the pay for partners in big law will almost certainly be higher than in other areas of law which suggests being at the top of the field even if the pay isn't necessarily related to how skilled you are.


I wouldn't go that far. If we're talking averages, sure. If we're talking top lawyers, I think there's likely potential earn more outside of biglaw.



Where would you say most of the top litigators in the country are, then? Top litigation boutiques?

whats an updog
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby whats an updog » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:20 pm

I am still a law student, but it seems that there are many litigators who are at the top of their field practicing in big law. If you consider "top of the field" arguing cases in front of the supreme court etc. anyway

obx
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby obx » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:46 pm

whats an updog wrote:I am still a law student, but it seems that there are many litigators who are at the top of their field practicing in big law. If you consider "top of the field" arguing cases in front of the supreme court etc. anyway


Definitely, but "top of field" is relatively meaningless. For instance, biglaw pretty much does not include elite plaintiff lawyers that bring down those fat contingencies that partners at "v5 firms" can only dream of. But maybe Joe Jamail and his ilk aren't prestigious enough for you. Of course they're few and far between, but since we're talking about "the top of the field" :roll: .......

lawman84
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby lawman84 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:56 pm

Thelaw23 wrote:Where would you say most of the top litigators in the country are, then? Top litigation boutiques?


I think they're spread out between small firms, mid-sized firms, big firms, and the government (and public interest). That's not the simple answer that people want, but litigation doesn't really incentivize the best lawyers to congregate solely in biglaw. If you're an amazing trial attorney, there are more incentives to work in a smaller firm on contingency. I have no doubt that biglaw still gets top litigators because there's less risk, and biglaw offers institutional clients that would be hard to obtain elsewhere. However, there are going to be plenty of top litigators willing to pass on biglaw for greater reward elsewhere.

tomwatts
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby tomwatts » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:01 am

What constitutes a "top" litigator depends a bit on what you're looking for.

Top Supreme Court litigators are scattered throughout permanent U.S. Solicitor General's Office staff (e.g., Ed Kneedler), biglaw (e.g., Seth Waxman, Carter Phillips), boutiques (e.g., Paul Clement, at least until Bancroft merged with Kirkland & Ellis), public interest (e.g., ACLU, Public Citizen), and elsewhere (e.g., Ed DuMont, currently California SG, previously biglaw partner, before that in the U.S. SG's office). There are probably more in biglaw than anywhere else, but there are plenty who are not in biglaw.

Top moneymakers, on the other hand, are probably doing trial court-level work, not appellate work. The richest lawyers are probably a mix of rainmaking biglaw partners, partners at successful class action plaintiffs' firms, and a handful of partners at boutiques (e.g., the late Johnnie Cochran). Again, there are probably more in biglaw than anywhere else, but there are plenty who are not in biglaw.

I think a lot of people (especially on TLS?) really want it to be as simple as being able to easily rank firms from objectively best to objectively worst for all purposes, where ranking correlates with size, so that biglaw necessarily is the best in all respects. It simply doesn't work that way. If you want your career as a litigator to consist mainly of defending big, well-resourced corporations when they are sued, for which you will be highly compensated, go to biglaw. If you want your career to consist of doing other things — even if you want to be pretty highly compensated — there are other options. I've said this before, but talking about the ease of getting biglaw is a good proxy for employability generally, but not everyone should want to go into biglaw, even out of those who want to go into private practice.

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addie1412
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby addie1412 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:10 pm

0L here, trying to determine whether biglaw would be a good fit for me in terms of work style.

I strongly prefer prolonged-focus assignments over shorter tasks. My current job is a special kind of hell because my day consists of a hundred little things, none taking more than 30 minutes, and most taking like 5-10. Once a month I'll get something I can kinda sink my teeth into, meaning something requiring like 1-2 hours, and those instances feel like a godsend. An 8 hour workday feels unbearably long and I'm always mentally exhausted at the end, usually in an awful mood too. But in undergrad, I could easily sit down for 8, 10, 12+ hours to study/bang out a paper without really feeling fatigued or like any time went by at all. Same thing studying for the LSAT, where I'd find myself putting in 12-14 continuous hours on weekends pretty effortlessly without losing focus.

I don't know anything about the day-to-day of a corporate associate, but I'd like to believe it's more suited to my preferred work style than my current job. ie requiring more prolonged focus rather than endless task switching. Thoughts?

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Lacepiece23
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby Lacepiece23 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:07 pm

addie1412 wrote:0L here, trying to determine whether biglaw would be a good fit for me in terms of work style.

I strongly prefer prolonged-focus assignments over shorter tasks. My current job is a special kind of hell because my day consists of a hundred little things, none taking more than 30 minutes, and most taking like 5-10. Once a month I'll get something I can kinda sink my teeth into, meaning something requiring like 1-2 hours, and those instances feel like a godsend. An 8 hour workday feels unbearably long and I'm always mentally exhausted at the end, usually in an awful mood too. But in undergrad, I could easily sit down for 8, 10, 12+ hours to study/bang out a paper without really feeling fatigued or like any time went by at all. Same thing studying for the LSAT, where I'd find myself putting in 12-14 continuous hours on weekends pretty effortlessly without losing focus.

I don't know anything about the day-to-day of a corporate associate, but I'd like to believe it's more suited to my preferred work style than my current job. ie requiring more prolonged focus rather than endless task switching. Thoughts?


I'm a litagor so you can take if for what's it worth it the days when I can sit down for a few hours and write a brief are few and far in between. A get tons of emails daily with same day questions or assignments meaning that I perform small tasks for most of the day. The real work gets done a lot of time after 530 when the equity partners either go home or start their substantive work.

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addie1412
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby addie1412 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:50 pm

Lacepiece23 wrote:
addie1412 wrote:0L here, trying to determine whether biglaw would be a good fit for me in terms of work style.

I strongly prefer prolonged-focus assignments over shorter tasks. My current job is a special kind of hell because my day consists of a hundred little things, none taking more than 30 minutes, and most taking like 5-10. Once a month I'll get something I can kinda sink my teeth into, meaning something requiring like 1-2 hours, and those instances feel like a godsend. An 8 hour workday feels unbearably long and I'm always mentally exhausted at the end, usually in an awful mood too. But in undergrad, I could easily sit down for 8, 10, 12+ hours to study/bang out a paper without really feeling fatigued or like any time went by at all. Same thing studying for the LSAT, where I'd find myself putting in 12-14 continuous hours on weekends pretty effortlessly without losing focus.

I don't know anything about the day-to-day of a corporate associate, but I'd like to believe it's more suited to my preferred work style than my current job. ie requiring more prolonged focus rather than endless task switching. Thoughts?


I'm a litagor so you can take if for what's it worth it the days when I can sit down for a few hours and write a brief are few and far in between. A get tons of emails daily with same day questions or assignments meaning that I perform small tasks for most of the day. The real work gets done a lot of time after 530 when the equity partners either go home or start their substantive work.


Gotcha. Bummer. :lol: Thanks for the insight!

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JCougar
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby JCougar » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:52 pm

The thing law students don't understand about litigation is that it's a long slog of busywork, churning through boxes and boxes of boring paperwork, looking for a needle in a haystack. Discovery will take up an inordinate amount of your time, and discovery is often work that any average secretary or paralegal could perform: reading through thousands (if not millions) of pages of e-mails, medical records, corporate spreadsheets, powerpoints, and even spam e-mail from various people's accounts, etc. Basically anything that you might find on someone's work computer. Then you have very petty disagreements over either compliance with discovery requests or relevance, with motions being filed back and forth over totally frivolous matters. None of this really requires much creative thinking or problem solving. It takes a high tolerance for pointless BS, attention to detail, and an ability to not take animosity personally. It's terrible psychologically, and it wears you down, especially if you're aware of the pointlessness of it all. But it's part of the practice: each side trying to wear the other one down both psychologically and financially over utter nonsense. Very few cases ever reach trial.

The cases you get in law school are very focused on one or two issues, because naturally they're appellate decisions. These decisions are made cleaner and easier to read because the casebooks truncate them and cut out irrelevant parts. Most cases in litigation are in a trial court, which are a mess of overlapping issues of substantive, procedural, evidence, and ethics rules. If someone wanted to invent the most inefficient, nightmarish process ever to resolve issues, they'd naturally come up short as to what the current legal system is like--it defies even the darkest corners of the human imagination.

To add to this, most of the time, both clients are lying to each side trying to either make up a claim or cover their asses. So you have all sorts of accusations going back and forth. Litigation is often like mediating the middle of a Jerry Springer show, except you also have to proofread 100,000 pages of documents thrown back and forth at each other rather than punches.

It's really an awful excuse for a profession, especially after you do all this and you're still absolutely broke due to school debt.

lenab0812
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby lenab0812 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:06 pm

tomwatts wrote:What constitutes a "top" litigator depends a bit on what you're looking for.

Top Supreme Court litigators are scattered throughout permanent U.S. Solicitor General's Office staff (e.g., Ed Kneedler), biglaw (e.g., Seth Waxman, Carter Phillips), boutiques (e.g., Paul Clement, at least until Bancroft merged with Kirkland & Ellis), public interest (e.g., ACLU, Public Citizen), and elsewhere (e.g., Ed DuMont, currently California SG, previously biglaw partner, before that in the U.S. SG's office). There are probably more in biglaw than anywhere else, but there are plenty who are not in biglaw.

Top moneymakers, on the other hand, are probably doing trial court-level work, not appellate work. The richest lawyers are probably a mix of rainmaking biglaw partners, partners at successful class action plaintiffs' firms, and a handful of partners at boutiques (e.g., the late Johnnie Cochran). Again, there are probably more in biglaw than anywhere else, but there are plenty who are not in biglaw.

I think a lot of people (especially on TLS?) really want it to be as simple as being able to easily rank firms from objectively best to objectively worst for all purposes, where ranking correlates with size, so that biglaw necessarily is the best in all respects. It simply doesn't work that way. If you want your career as a litigator to consist mainly of defending big, well-resourced corporations when they are sued, for which you will be highly compensated, go to biglaw. If you want your career to consist of doing other things — even if you want to be pretty highly compensated — there are other options. I've said this before, but talking about the ease of getting biglaw is a good proxy for employability generally, but not everyone should want to go into biglaw, even out of those who want to go into private practice.



Keep in mind that the SCOTUS litigators in BigLaw are almost always in those firms' appellate groups, which function completely separately from the rest of the firm, including regular litigation. (Munger, if that's even really BigLaw, is one exception I can think of, I guess.) There is effectively no pipeline from regular litigation to the appellate groups--you have to be hired into them from a SCOTUS or feeder judge clerkship. So, in general, if you're aiming to do SCOTUS litigation or be one of the people in the running for a powerful government lawyer job eventually (SG's office, WH Counsel, OLC, top DOJ, etc.) don't go to Sidley or whatever as a normal litigator thinking you as long as you do a great job you can end up like Carter Phillips. I know much less about the path from BigLaw white collar to AUSA to powerful government lawyer job, which I think does exist.

Incidentally, not sure what the marginal helpfulness of this is, given how many others have said the same, but speaking as someone with a nearly identical background and an identical current position, everything OP has said throughout this thread is absolutely, 100% accurate.

tomwatts
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby tomwatts » Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:25 pm

My anecdotal impression is that it's a little bit hard to change practice groups generally in biglaw. If you start as a patent litigator, it's possible to change to do employment law, but it's not necessarily common or easy to do so. Appellate is probably harder to get into than most, but that's true both at the entry level and for a later lateral.

BernieTrump
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby BernieTrump » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:59 am

I'm happy this continues to receive replies.

Bumping for the sixth year associate four doors down from me who recently started drinking sparkling water at firm events. Now there are only 4 active alcoholics on my side of my floor (~10 offices). Can't imagine why people with any options at all continue to do this given all the information out there now.

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zot1
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby zot1 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:05 pm

Because models and bottles.

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smaug
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby smaug » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:20 pm

BernieTrump wrote:I'm happy this continues to receive replies.

Bumping for the sixth year associate four doors down from me who recently started drinking sparkling water at firm events. Now there are only 4 active alcoholics on my side of my floor (~10 offices). Can't imagine why people with any options at all continue to do this given all the information out there now.

tbh I think the alcoholism is endemic to the profession and not at all limited to biglaw

Something about the personality type

BernieTrump
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby BernieTrump » Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:32 am

smaug wrote:
BernieTrump wrote:I'm happy this continues to receive replies.

Bumping for the sixth year associate four doors down from me who recently started drinking sparkling water at firm events. Now there are only 4 active alcoholics on my side of my floor (~10 offices). Can't imagine why people with any options at all continue to do this given all the information out there now.

tbh I think the alcoholism is endemic to the profession and not at all limited to biglaw

Something about the personality type



It would be an interesting study of the people who quit law. I bet the rate of substance abuse drops. Whether correlation or causation, the only thing we can safely say is that a lot of people in the profession, multiples of the adult average, develop "habits". It's very sad.

Also, I'm getting home after 2:00am again for those looking forward to law. No legit reason, but the client thought "maybe it might be possible" to get something "flipped overnight", so that's what we do. Doc not needed in draft form until Friday, realistically and won't go before the board until next week.

njames1961
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby njames1961 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:05 pm

This entire thread has hit me like a ton of bricks.

I've been a paralegal at an NYC investment management law firm for over a year, and haven't gotten nearly as much useful information as I've received in these 30 pages.

If I apply this cycle, with my GPA and LSAT, I will most likely get sticker at CCN (maybe HLS), and scholarships to the latter T14. I'd much rather pursue a career in govt/PI than biglaw, but now I'm not sure going to law school is even worth it at this point considering the competition for decent govt/interesting PI jobs...

I originally wanted to go into academia with my liberal arts major and high GPA, but skeptical at the dismal prospects of getting tenure/scoring a unicorn position, I transitioned into the law school -> govt/PI work idea for its practicality. Yet this thread has now made this likelihood seem just as unattainable.

I've never been interested in finance/business for its own sake, so the whole "get an MBA" alternative doesn't really apply to me.

Any advice from someone that was/is in a similar position??

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Lacepiece23
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby Lacepiece23 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:44 pm

njames1961 wrote:This entire thread has hit me like a ton of bricks.

I've been a paralegal at an NYC investment management law firm for over a year, and haven't gotten nearly as much useful information as I've received in these 30 pages.

If I apply this cycle, with my GPA and LSAT, I will most likely get sticker at CCN (maybe HLS), and scholarships to the latter T14. I'd much rather pursue a career in govt/PI than biglaw, but now I'm not sure going to law school is even worth it at this point considering the competition for decent govt/interesting PI jobs...

I originally wanted to go into academia with my liberal arts major and high GPA, but skeptical at the dismal prospects of getting tenure/scoring a unicorn position, I transitioned into the law school -> govt/PI work idea for its practicality. Yet this thread has now made this likelihood seem just as unattainable.

I've never been interested in finance/business for its own sake, so the whole "get an MBA" alternative doesn't really apply to me.

Any advice from someone that was/is in a similar position??


Do litigation and stay away from corporate. Take a scholarship at a lower T14, and don't look back. I'm a junior litigator, and I definitely don't love every aspect of my job. But I can actually myself enjoying the substance of what more senior associates do regularly. And I like being in court and all of that stuff. I'm happy with my decision to go to law school. I don't think I would have enjoyed a true business role.

tomwatts
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby tomwatts » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:39 pm

It's hard to get good government/PI, but it's not impossible, especially if you're flexible about your subject matter (and possibly location) and you're willing to hustle. If you go to a relatively high-ranked law school with either minimal debt or a good LRAP, then government/PI is a legitimate path. I don't think anything is this thread should discourage you from that.

njames1961
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby njames1961 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:27 pm

Thanks a lot, I appreciate both of your responses. Definitely needed a pick me up...

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jbagelboy
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:45 pm

njames1961 wrote:Thanks a lot, I appreciate both of your responses. Definitely needed a pick me up...


As said earlier, take the biggest scholarship you get. What you'll want is career flexibility, which requires financial freedom. Don't pay sticker or close to it anywhere.

njames1961
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby njames1961 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:25 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
njames1961 wrote:Thanks a lot, I appreciate both of your responses. Definitely needed a pick me up...


As said earlier, take the biggest scholarship you get. What you'll want is career flexibility, which requires financial freedom. Don't pay sticker or close to it anywhere.


But for certain positions like a fed clerkship/competitive fellowship for example, would it not be worthwhile to spend the extra $ for the higher likelihood of getting one at a higher ranked school? Like UChicago vs. Northwestern?

notgreat
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby notgreat » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:31 pm

BernieTrump wrote:
smaug wrote:
BernieTrump wrote:I'm happy this continues to receive replies.

Bumping for the sixth year associate four doors down from me who recently started drinking sparkling water at firm events. Now there are only 4 active alcoholics on my side of my floor (~10 offices). Can't imagine why people with any options at all continue to do this given all the information out there now.

tbh I think the alcoholism is endemic to the profession and not at all limited to biglaw

Something about the personality type



It would be an interesting study of the people who quit law. I bet the rate of substance abuse drops. Whether correlation or causation, the only thing we can safely say is that a lot of people in the profession, multiples of the adult average, develop "habits". It's very sad.

Also, I'm getting home after 2:00am again for those looking forward to law. No legit reason, but the client thought "maybe it might be possible" to get something "flipped overnight", so that's what we do. Doc not needed in draft form until Friday, realistically and won't go before the board until next week.


Man, this infuriates me. Although, more infuriating is when a partner or senior associate will blow up my weekend by saying "it might be nice to get a draft of this tangential paperwork done by Sunday night." So, I end up working until 11 pm Saturday and Sunday and have now worked every weekend day for a month. Client never asked for tangential paperwork and they don't actually need it, but it racks up billables and the partner can sell it to the client as helpful. The paperwork is marked up by senior associate only to have partner stet most of senior's changes. Then it goes out a week later after two hours of review collectively from partner and senior associate. Client never uses it. Although, client responds with email "Thank you!" Partner sucks his own dick afterwards.

FUCK THIS JOB. You are making a huge mistake if you go to law school hoping to become a NY Corporate Associate. Maybe you will be one of the "lucky" few that enjoys this, but more likely than that you will not.

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nunumaster
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby nunumaster » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:10 pm

For people trying to get in-house as soon as possible, and okay taking anything thats 150k in NYC if its 9-6, what's the game plan? I figure they have to do at least 1-2 years of this bs before they can make that happen. I know people say good positions don't open up until years 3-5, but there's def jobs out there for junior people I feel.

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tuesdayninja
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby tuesdayninja » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:13 pm

May be a dumb question, but does IP fall under this "corporate" domain? 0L headed to school this fall interested in IP lit/transactions. Preferably not in NY but if I ended up there is it just as bad as OPs situation?

20170322
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Re: So you want to be a NY Corporate Associate?

Postby 20170322 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:45 pm

But like... what's the alternative? I'm going to a t14 in the fall with minimal debt-- other than biglaw, what is a good path?




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