White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

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brinicolec

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White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby brinicolec » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:06 am

So... I have a creeping suspicion that I'll like litigation more than transactional work and thought white collar crime might be an interesting way to avoid transactional work and also indulge in litigating while still getting a salary that should *fingers crossed* allow me to pay off my loans, but I was wondering if white collar crime litigation folks do much litigating or if most of the work is more about making deals.

Obviously, as an 0L I'm keeping my mind open to all the options that I'll come across, this is just something I think about to occupy time so I don't freak out about starting law school in less than two months lol.

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:00 am

If you consider litigation to be actual trial work, not just writing/making arguments in front of a court, then very few attorneys do that on a regular basis. Most cases just never get to trial.

But the way you get to deal-making in litigation is substantively different than the kind of deal-making you see in transactional law. Working out a settlement/plea/DNP/etc. agreement doesn't generally happen until after both parties have already argued a variety of motions that can put one side or another in a more favorable position. So as long as you're defining "litigation" to broadly include anything where you're arguing an aspect of a case, then there's plenty of it in white-collar lit on BOTH SIDES. Whether a first-year associate gets to actively participate in it is another story...

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby lymenheimer » Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:50 am

I realize this may be a misunderstanding of your thoughts...but just to clarify, biglaw firms and boutiques do all kinds of litigation work, not just white collar defense. Biglaw firms are where you will pay off your debt. They are not wholly made up of transactional attorneys.

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:53 am

My understanding is that white collar involves even less actual court work than other forms of biglaw lit. It's mostly internal investigations and compliance and when there are cases they tend to settle.

e. obviously this probably differs by firm and ymmv.

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby Thelaw23 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:27 am

I'm interested in white-collar lit and see myself going that way after law school. However, the real goal is to get into a white-collar lit boutique where you actually litigate. I have heard that in white-collar defense departments in Big Law, you just do doc review all day. No trial work and not much litigating. However, the partners you can make connections with at these firms are former AUSA's, SEC, litigation boutique partners, meaning they might help you lateral out of that firm into those positions.

If anybody has any advice/experience with getting to do white-collar lit at an alright salary while actually doing substantive work, I would really love to hear it. Is it all about lateraling out of biglaw to boutiques? What if you don't get a fedclerk, how hard is it to get into those boutiques?

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby quiver » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:58 am

Thelaw23 wrote:I'm interested in white-collar lit and see myself going that way after law school. However, the real goal is to get into a white-collar lit boutique where you actually litigate. I have heard that in white-collar defense departments in Big Law, you just do doc review all day. No trial work and not much litigating. However, the partners you can make connections with at these firms are former AUSA's, SEC, litigation boutique partners, meaning they might help you lateral out of that firm into those positions.

If anybody has any advice/experience with getting to do white-collar lit at an alright salary while actually doing substantive work, I would really love to hear it. Is it all about lateraling out of biglaw to boutiques? What if you don't get a fedclerk, how hard is it to get into those boutiques?
You have heard correctly. Biglaw white collar is primarily focused on investigations, which mainly involve massive amounts of doc review, interview prep, and interview memos. It's not "litigation" in the sense most people mean. Individual representation (which is primarily, although not exclusively, done by white-collar lit boutiques) is where you can actually "litigate" white collar criminal cases. There are some significant downsides to that type of practice as well, but whether it is worth it will depend on numerous factors, including what type of substantive experience you want, how senior you are, whether you work best as a lone wolf or on a team, and, to a lesser extent, what type of work/life balance you want.

With respect to the question about how hard it is to get into a lit boutique without a fed clerkship, the answer is: very, but not impossible.

For those of you with more specific questions, feel free to PM. I have experience in this area.

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:02 am

Doesn't litigation mean civil actions?
Last edited by Desert Fox on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby quiver » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:23 am

Desert Fox wrote:Doesn't litigation mean civil actions?
I don't think so, no. Crim litigation is still litigation (broadly speaking), although it functions in a much different way, obviously.

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby tomwatts » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:23 am

Desert Fox wrote:Doesn't litigation mean civil actions?

No. It just means court-related work. So when you go to court to prosecute or defend in a criminal action, that's litigation. A lot of white collar isn't litigation, though, because a lot of it is trying to keep someone from being charged in the first place, which is an out-of-court process for the most part.

(Very occasionally, I hear people use the term "litigation" to refer to trial court work as opposed to appellate work. But I think that's an error, even if it is a common error.)

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:33 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Doesn't litigation mean civil actions?

Dude, what?

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Desert Fox

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:26 pm

I wouldn't call a criminal defense lawyer a litigator. Dictionaries online seem to back this up.
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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:28 pm

Desert Fox wrote:I wouldn't call a criminal defense lawyer a litigator. Dictionaries online seem to back this up.


AUSA is like the dream exit from biglaw lit.

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:29 pm

HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I wouldn't call a criminal defense lawyer a litigator. Dictionaries online seem to back this up.


AUSA is like the dream exit from biglaw lit.


Non-litigation being the dream exit for litigators is not a contradiction in the slightest.
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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:30 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I wouldn't call a criminal defense lawyer a litigator. Dictionaries online seem to back this up.


AUSA is like the dream exit from biglaw lit.


Non-litigation being the dream exit for litigators is not a contradiction in the slightest.


Fair point.

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:31 pm

TCR is "DF you have no business being pedantic."
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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby Thelaw23 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:39 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I wouldn't call a criminal defense lawyer a litigator. Dictionaries online seem to back this up.


AUSA is like the dream exit from biglaw lit.


Non-litigation being the dream exit for litigators is not a contradiction in the slightest.


Isn't anything that's not transactional - litigation? And AUSA's are definitely litigants since they aren't creating contracts but rather arguing in court/going to trial/filing motions?

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:40 pm

Thelaw23 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I wouldn't call a criminal defense lawyer a litigator. Dictionaries online seem to back this up.


AUSA is like the dream exit from biglaw lit.


Non-litigation being the dream exit for litigators is not a contradiction in the slightest.


Isn't anything that's not transactional - litigation? No. And AUSA's are definitely litigants since they aren't creating contracts but rather arguing in court/going to trial/filing motions?

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby Thelaw23 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:42 pm

HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Thelaw23 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I wouldn't call a criminal defense lawyer a litigator. Dictionaries online seem to back this up.


AUSA is like the dream exit from biglaw lit.


Non-litigation being the dream exit for litigators is not a contradiction in the slightest.


Isn't anything that's not transactional - litigation? No. And AUSA's are definitely litigants since they aren't creating contracts but rather arguing in court/going to trial/filing motions?



I still have no idea how someone can say that AUSAs aren't practicing litigation lol.

And what other types are there? I was always taught there is transactional or litigation. One helps bring people together through contracts, the other helps people break apart from those contracts.

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:44 pm

Thelaw23 wrote:
HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Thelaw23 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I wouldn't call a criminal defense lawyer a litigator. Dictionaries online seem to back this up.


AUSA is like the dream exit from biglaw lit.


Non-litigation being the dream exit for litigators is not a contradiction in the slightest.


Isn't anything that's not transactional - litigation? No. And AUSA's are definitely litigants since they aren't creating contracts but rather arguing in court/going to trial/filing motions?



I still have no idea how someone can say that AUSAs aren't practicing litigation lol.

And what other types are there? I was always taught there is transactional or litigation. One helps bring people together through contracts, the other helps people break apart from those contracts.


Antitrust, tax, bankruptcy, estate planning, real estate, etc...

Tons of areas that don't map onto the deal or lit dichotomy.

e. I think AUSA's are litigators and DF is just wrong, but that doesn't mean you're a litigator if you're not a transactional attorney.
Last edited by BlendedUnicorn on Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Desert Fox

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:45 pm

at a min: I'd say there are tax, trans, adminstrative, lit, criminal, wills/trusts, family, immigration, dunno what else
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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby Thelaw23 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:49 pm

HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Thelaw23 wrote:
HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Thelaw23 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
HuntedUnicorn wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I wouldn't call a criminal defense lawyer a litigator. Dictionaries online seem to back this up.


AUSA is like the dream exit from biglaw lit.


Non-litigation being the dream exit for litigators is not a contradiction in the slightest.


Isn't anything that's not transactional - litigation? No. And AUSA's are definitely litigants since they aren't creating contracts but rather arguing in court/going to trial/filing motions?



I still have no idea how someone can say that AUSAs aren't practicing litigation lol.

And what other types are there? I was always taught there is transactional or litigation. One helps bring people together through contracts, the other helps people break apart from those contracts.


Antitrust, tax, bankruptcy, estate planning, real estate, etc...

Tons of areas that don't map onto the deal or lit dichotomy.

e. I think AUSA's are litigators and DF is just wrong, but that doesn't mean you're a litigator if you're not a transactional attorney.



This is just interesting, but wouldn't any of those be split into transaction and litigation too?

Like real estate - anybody making real estate contracts would be transactional, anyone dealing with real estate litigation (eviction maybe or foreclosures?) would be litigation. Of course, you can probably be both and in some of those fields there's a lot of overlap.

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:54 pm

you could call real estate just transactional. Is real estate litigation even a specialty?

you have weird shit like tax and patent prosecution that aren't really either.

admittedly, white collar crime is basically the same as big law lit. but regular crim defense just isn't from what I can tell.

If you don't get nasty emails "friendly" reminding you not to be "CARELESS" with regard to your characterization of their document production, you aren't a shitigator.
Last edited by Desert Fox on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:59 pm

Thelaw23 wrote:

This is just interesting, but wouldn't any of those be split into transaction and litigation too?

Like real estate - anybody making real estate contracts would be transactional, anyone dealing with real estate litigation (eviction maybe or foreclosures?) would be litigation. Of course, you can probably be both and in some of those fields there's a lot of overlap.


Kind of sort of maybe. There's also a compliance element to a lot of it that has nothing to do with deals or litigation (think tax-you're paying that shit every year even if you're not making deals or getting sued). Real estate might be doing deals but you also might be dealing with compliance with zoning ordinances or fire codes or some shit. Drafting a will or setting up a trust isn't really deal work or lit, though I guess it's somewhat closer to the orbit of deal work.

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brinicolec

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby brinicolec » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:18 pm

lymenheimer wrote:I realize this may be a misunderstanding of your thoughts...but just to clarify, biglaw firms and boutiques do all kinds of litigation work, not just white collar defense. Biglaw firms are where you will pay off your debt. They are not wholly made up of transactional attorneys.


It's not a misunderstanding of my thoughts, I understand some people "specialize" in an area within firms/boutiques and I think I'd be interested in doing that.

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brinicolec

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Re: White collar crime lit: How much do you actually LITIGATE?

Postby brinicolec » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:19 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:If you consider litigation to be actual trial work, not just writing/making arguments in front of a court, then very few attorneys do that on a regular basis. Most cases just never get to trial.

But the way you get to deal-making in litigation is substantively different than the kind of deal-making you see in transactional law. Working out a settlement/plea/DNP/etc. agreement doesn't generally happen until after both parties have already argued a variety of motions that can put one side or another in a more favorable position. So as long as you're defining "litigation" to broadly include anything where you're arguing an aspect of a case, then there's plenty of it in white-collar lit on BOTH SIDES. Whether a first-year associate gets to actively participate in it is another story...



I think other posts I've read say first-years usually do a lot of the researching aspect, right? Any timeline on how long that lasts? I'd imagine a few years at least (in a BL firm)



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