Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Use this forum to discuss different legal practice areas with other attorneys.
User avatar
legalese_retard

Bronze
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:14 pm

Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby legalese_retard » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:29 am

I think this article by David Lat on Abovethelaw is a pretty good read for anyone deciding between law practices (even though it is a sponsored article). https://abovethelaw.com/2020/02/mammas-dont-let-your-babies-grow-up-to-be-litigators/

Coming from a "litigator" who graduated law school in 2008, I experienced the same issues with trying to find new opportunities outside litigation later in my career. There are far fewer in-house opportunities for litigators, and when there are, most require you to be specialized in L&E, IP/trademark, or a specific regulatory scheme. Insurance companies definitely hire in-house litigators, but the work and pay are no different than at insurance defense firms.

I never wanted to do litigation, but there weren't many transactional jobs available when I graduated law school. My advice to people who want to (or have to) work in a litigation practice is to specialize and specialize as soon as possible!

User avatar
cavalier1138

Moderator
Posts: 6935
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:41 am

That was a super-long article to say "Don't do litigation if you don't like litigation."

notinbiglaw

Bronze
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:05 am

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby notinbiglaw » Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:12 pm

It was my college friends that suggested I become a litigator.

You’re such a good debater you’d be a great litigator they said.

My own fault for not doing more due diligence before jumping into law school but holy shit litigation is terrible. I felt like I was playing chess/poker via snail mail. You basically know what’s coming back in two weeks most of the time but you still gotta go through the motions. I just found it incredibly annoying.

User avatar
glitched

Silver
Posts: 1114
Joined: Wed May 19, 2010 9:50 am

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby glitched » Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:49 pm

Life sciences patent litigation isn't all that bad, and it seems to be getting hotter and hotter. Exit ops still seem pretty bad, but I see good postings here and there. I can see general commercial lit being totally awful though.

JOThompson

Silver
Posts: 1389
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:16 am

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby JOThompson » Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:56 pm

I was told early in my career that trial and litigation experience would open all kinds of legal doors for me. It's not remotely true in my experience. I could not get a non-litigation job interview now to save my life. In hindsight, I would have tried to transition to something more transactional or sustainable after a year or two. The only happy lawyers I know are transactional and in-house.

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


User avatar
glitched

Silver
Posts: 1114
Joined: Wed May 19, 2010 9:50 am

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby glitched » Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:13 pm

JOThompson wrote:I was told early in my career that trial and litigation experience would open all kinds of legal doors for me. It's not remotely true in my experience. I could not get a non-litigation job interview now to save my life. In hindsight, I would have tried to transition to something more transactional or sustainable after a year or two. The only happy lawyers I know are transactional and in-house.


In a law firm, the "happier" (only by comparison) lawyers have to be the litigators. The transactional people eat shit constantly, day in and day out. Transactional people have a light at the end of the tunnel, which is Lat's whole point anyway. He's saying now that he has the experience of being out of law firm life, he would choose transactional because of the exit ops. But within the firm, litigation lifestyle on average is much better. If you can stomach trial and law firm life, you come out ahead going litigation.

A major problem with litigation though is that training you get as a junior isn't as applicable for the next set of skills you need. Doc review doesn't train you for brief writing/legal research. Brief writing/legal research doesn't train you for depositions. Depositions marginally train you for hearings/trial advocacy, but not really. It's scary because you can get to your 8th year, be super good at all those things, but realize you don't have the final skills you need to transcend yourself to partner level. That seems like it won't happen in transactional where the skills transfer going ahead. Anyway. Mini rant over.

LBJ's Hair

Bronze
Posts: 333
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby LBJ's Hair » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:38 pm

"Now that I’ve been working for a while as a legal recruiter, I have been struck by the vast disparity in the market demand for litigators versus corporate lawyers. There are excellent opportunities for elite litigators, who have become a specialization of mine — I have had success placing litigators who graduated from top schools, clerked for top judges, and worked at top firms — but overall, lateral opportunities for transactional attorneys vastly outnumber lateral opportunities for litigators."

Very on brand for David. (TBF, were I a SCOTUS-type looking to lateral, I would hire him.)

soft blue

New
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:59 am

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby soft blue » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:22 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:"Now that I’ve been working for a while as a legal recruiter, I have been struck by the vast disparity in the market demand for litigators versus corporate lawyers. There are excellent opportunities for elite litigators, who have become a specialization of mine — I have had success placing litigators who graduated from top schools, clerked for top judges, and worked at top firms — but overall, lateral opportunities for transactional attorneys vastly outnumber lateral opportunities for litigators."

Very on brand for David. (TBF, were I a SCOTUS-type looking to lateral, I would hire him.)


Query how much work he really has to do to place those people, though? Feel like the demand for Ted Olson or whoever is sky high. Suspect it's more Lat to say that whoever he works with is elite!

$$$$$$

Bronze
Posts: 248
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:08 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby $$$$$$ » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:58 pm

JOThompson wrote:I was told early in my career that trial and litigation experience would open all kinds of legal doors for me. It's not remotely true in my experience. I could not get a non-litigation job interview now to save my life. In hindsight, I would have tried to transition to something more transactional or sustainable after a year or two. The only happy lawyers I know are transactional and in-house.


Most corporate lawyers I know are miserable in the law firm context. Not sure where you are getting this from.
Last edited by QContinuum on Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


FND

Bronze
Posts: 318
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:23 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby FND » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:Most corporatelawyers I know are miserable in the law firm context.

corrected that for you

Anonymous User
Posts: 342639
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:08 am

legalese_retard wrote:I never wanted to do litigation, but there weren't many transactional jobs available when I graduated law school.

I got very lucky. It wasn't what I wanted to do, but the only job I could find when I graduated was T&E - even though there weren't a lot of positions for it, nobody wanted to do T&E, everyone thought it was a dying field.

Right now, I'm a hot commodity. Nobody has experience with high-end T&E, most firms I talk to have been turning away business because they either don't have the capacity or the expertise. In my secondary market, fully half the law firms with 100+ attorneys are actively looking for people with real T&E experience, some of them with public postings for more than half a year already.

I'm very happy with it. It's the one legal specialty where you can control your schedule - clients schedule their appointments weeks in advance, you rarely face short deadlines (except if someone is actually dying), the only part of my practice I have no control over is when the work comes in... but there's so much of it right now, that that's really not a problem.
The big downside is that there's just about no in-house opportunities.

1styearlateral

Silver
Posts: 855
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:
legalese_retard wrote:I never wanted to do litigation, but there weren't many transactional jobs available when I graduated law school.

I got very lucky. It wasn't what I wanted to do, but the only job I could find when I graduated was T&E - even though there weren't a lot of positions for it, nobody wanted to do T&E, everyone thought it was a dying field.

Right now, I'm a hot commodity. Nobody has experience with high-end T&E, most firms I talk to have been turning away business because they either don't have the capacity or the expertise. In my secondary market, fully half the law firms with 100+ attorneys are actively looking for people with real T&E experience, some of them with public postings for more than half a year already.

I'm very happy with it. It's the one legal specialty where you can control your schedule - clients schedule their appointments weeks in advance, you rarely face short deadlines (except if someone is actually dying), the only part of my practice I have no control over is when the work comes in... but there's so much of it right now, that that's really not a problem.
The big downside is that there's just about no in-house opportunities.

But you have the amazing opportunity to hook up with a wealth manager. Even at a small office, you make an amazing living with top quality life. All of your clients are referred to you by your “partner,” and you just charge a flat fee for each will, trust, etc.

I knew a guy that had this setup and was making a cool $450k/year charging $1,500-$2,000 a will (and maybe more depending on how complicated) and spending most of his time on the beach, traveling, golfing, etc. If you get hooked up with the right person you could have a constant stream of business and pump out wills and trusts like hot cakes.

User avatar
nealric

Moderator
Posts: 3329
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby nealric » Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:
legalese_retard wrote:I never wanted to do litigation, but there weren't many transactional jobs available when I graduated law school.

I got very lucky. It wasn't what I wanted to do, but the only job I could find when I graduated was T&E - even though there weren't a lot of positions for it, nobody wanted to do T&E, everyone thought it was a dying field.

Right now, I'm a hot commodity. Nobody has experience with high-end T&E, most firms I talk to have been turning away business because they either don't have the capacity or the expertise. In my secondary market, fully half the law firms with 100+ attorneys are actively looking for people with real T&E experience, some of them with public postings for more than half a year already.

I'm very happy with it. It's the one legal specialty where you can control your schedule - clients schedule their appointments weeks in advance, you rarely face short deadlines (except if someone is actually dying), the only part of my practice I have no control over is when the work comes in... but there's so much of it right now, that that's really not a problem.
The big downside is that there's just about no in-house opportunities.


I'd say T&E is quite literally a dying field :lol:

But in seriousness, it's not that it's dying, it's just that the old white shoe M&A firms realized it just didn't make sense within their business model and have de-emphasized it. Skadden makes their money staffing 20 lawyers on a mega M&A deal. T&E stuff generally can't command the billing rates and almost never creates the massive staffing opportunities M&A does. I think that's created opportunities for midlaw and second tier biglaw firms who still have the capability to understand the needs of high net worth clients.

Within the law firm context, I think specialists (Tax, ERISA, T&E, L&E) tend to be happier than generalists. They usually have fewer fire drills and are valued for their specific expertise rather than their ability to grind out hours. The downside is they are less likely to be mega rainmakers within a firm. Once you talk exit options, they tend to have somewhat fewer opportunities, but also an easier time securing the opportunities that do exist.

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


User avatar
nealric

Moderator
Posts: 3329
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby nealric » Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:16 am

1styearlateral wrote:But you have the amazing opportunity to hook up with a wealth manager.


If I ever opened a solo practice, my plan would be to actually be a wealth manager who is a one stop shop for investments/tax planning/T&E.

1styearlateral

Silver
Posts: 855
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:21 am

nealric wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:But you have the amazing opportunity to hook up with a wealth manager.


If I ever opened a solo practice, my plan would be to actually be a wealth manager who is a one stop shop for investments/tax planning/T&E.

Yes, that’s also an option. My point is that if you can find a wealth manager that is already super successful, you have zero need to do any business generation; the wm will just keep feeding you through referrals.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7921
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby lavarman84 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:25 pm

Yeah, I couldn't imagine not being a litigator. I'd rather leave the law than do transactional work. That's not to insult people who prefer it. Some do like it. Others likely just see it as a job, so pulling a 9-5 at a cushy in-house gig making six digits is a good life. And I don't blame anybody who isn't passionate about the law for doing that. I also understand that being passionate about the law is more the exception than the norm. What can I say, I'm a legal nerd. :lol:

1styearlateral

Silver
Posts: 855
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby 1styearlateral » Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:26 am

lavarman84 wrote:Yeah, I couldn't imagine not being a litigator. I'd rather leave the law than do transactional work. That's not to insult people who prefer it. Some do like it. Others likely just see it as a job, so pulling a 9-5 at a cushy in-house gig making six digits is a good life. And I don't blame anybody who isn't passionate about the law for doing that. I also understand that being passionate about the law is more the exception than the norm. What can I say, I'm a legal nerd. :lol:

Not disagreeing with you, but don’t forget $900,000 is six digits and still damn good for a 9-5.

Get unlimited access to all forums and topics

Register now!

I'm pretty sure I told you it's FREE...


lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7921
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby lavarman84 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:57 am

1styearlateral wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:Yeah, I couldn't imagine not being a litigator. I'd rather leave the law than do transactional work. That's not to insult people who prefer it. Some do like it. Others likely just see it as a job, so pulling a 9-5 at a cushy in-house gig making six digits is a good life. And I don't blame anybody who isn't passionate about the law for doing that. I also understand that being passionate about the law is more the exception than the norm. What can I say, I'm a legal nerd. :lol:

Not disagreeing with you, but don’t forget $900,000 is six digits and still damn good for a 9-5.


I'm not sure what you mean. I wasn't knocking it. I was saying that if you're not in love with the law, making six digits working a 9-5 (or 8-5) is a good living and a justifiable choice for somebody who just sees work as work. But yeah, if somebody wants to pay me $900,000 for a 9-5, I'm game. :lol:

ghostoftraynor

Bronze
Posts: 243
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:43 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby ghostoftraynor » Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:08 pm

Who is making $900k and working a 9-5?

JusticeSquee

New
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:29 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby JusticeSquee » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:23 pm

David Lat is just incredibly and forever salty that he was passed up for that Scalia clerkship. That clerkship actually ended up going to Brian Fitzpatrick, now at Vanderbilt Law. Lat ended up burning out of the professional altogether, and then after a bitter stint in blogging burnt out of that too. Hope he enjoys recruiting, LJL at that nerd.

Pennoyer v. Meh

New
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun May 26, 2019 2:29 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby Pennoyer v. Meh » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:37 am

JusticeSquee wrote:David Lat is just incredibly and forever salty that he was passed up for that Scalia clerkship. That clerkship actually ended up going to Brian Fitzpatrick, now at Vanderbilt Law. Lat ended up burning out of the professional altogether, and then after a bitter stint in blogging burnt out of that too. Hope he enjoys recruiting, LJL at that nerd.


Kind of a harsh take, no? I'd say Lat's done a pretty valuable service, all things considered.

Communicate now with those who not only know what a legal education is, but can offer you worthy advice and commentary as you complete the three most educational, yet challenging years of your law related post graduate life.

Register now, it's still FREE!


User avatar
LaLiLuLeLo

Silver
Posts: 935
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:54 am

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:34 am

Pennoyer v. Meh wrote:
JusticeSquee wrote:David Lat is just incredibly and forever salty that he was passed up for that Scalia clerkship. That clerkship actually ended up going to Brian Fitzpatrick, now at Vanderbilt Law. Lat ended up burning out of the professional altogether, and then after a bitter stint in blogging burnt out of that too. Hope he enjoys recruiting, LJL at that nerd.


Kind of a harsh take, no? I'd say Lat's done a pretty valuable service, all things considered.


If his valuable service was leaving the profession, then yes.

dabigchina

Gold
Posts: 1760
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:22 am

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby dabigchina » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:54 pm

Lat is probably doing just fine for himself. Atl probably brings in as much, if not more income, than he would be making in the law, and it's pretty much just passive income at this point (he doesn't actually need to do any work).

Not sure how his recruiting gig is going, but he's prob making a good living off of that too because he gets leads from name recognition alone. He's probably doing it to stave off boredom at this point.

All in all, I'd rather be David Lat than the guy who got that Scalia clerkship.

JusticeSquee wrote:David Lat is just incredibly and forever salty that he was passed up for that Scalia clerkship. That clerkship actually ended up going to Brian Fitzpatrick, now at Vanderbilt Law. Lat ended up burning out of the professional altogether, and then after a bitter stint in blogging burnt out of that too. Hope he enjoys recruiting, LJL at that nerd.

JusticeSquee

New
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:29 pm

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby JusticeSquee » Sun Feb 23, 2020 4:05 pm

dabigchina wrote:Lat is probably doing just fine for himself. Atl probably brings in as much, if not more income, than he would be making in the law, and it's pretty much just passive income at this point (he doesn't actually need to do any work).

Not sure how his recruiting gig is going, but he's prob making a good living off of that too because he gets leads from name recognition alone. He's probably doing it to stave off boredom at this point.

All in all, I'd rather be David Lat than the guy who got that Scalia clerkship.

JusticeSquee wrote:David Lat is just incredibly and forever salty that he was passed up for that Scalia clerkship. That clerkship actually ended up going to Brian Fitzpatrick, now at Vanderbilt Law. Lat ended up burning out of the professional altogether, and then after a bitter stint in blogging burnt out of that too. Hope he enjoys recruiting, LJL at that nerd.


David Lat used to hide in the god damn bathroom so he could get gossip on other lawyers, that’s not me saying that that’s the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/22/tech ... h-won.html) ("he would linger in the men's room, and would report on what was going on in there. This person did this, and this person would wash his hands 25 times"). This was as a biglaw associate, not a law student. But please, tell me about how successful he is and how much cash he makes from his blog. A blog that we only view to get raise/bonus news btw, and the other 99% of the time is consumed by weird "wokeness" stuff. So yeah, I’d rather be Fitzpatrick.

dabigchina

Gold
Posts: 1760
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:22 am

Re: Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Litigators

Postby dabigchina » Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:57 pm

JusticeSquee wrote:
dabigchina wrote:Lat is probably doing just fine for himself. Atl probably brings in as much, if not more income, than he would be making in the law, and it's pretty much just passive income at this point (he doesn't actually need to do any work).

Not sure how his recruiting gig is going, but he's prob making a good living off of that too because he gets leads from name recognition alone. He's probably doing it to stave off boredom at this point.

All in all, I'd rather be David Lat than the guy who got that Scalia clerkship.

JusticeSquee wrote:David Lat is just incredibly and forever salty that he was passed up for that Scalia clerkship. That clerkship actually ended up going to Brian Fitzpatrick, now at Vanderbilt Law. Lat ended up burning out of the professional altogether, and then after a bitter stint in blogging burnt out of that too. Hope he enjoys recruiting, LJL at that nerd.


David Lat used to hide in the god damn bathroom so he could get gossip on other lawyers, that’s not me saying that that’s the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/22/tech ... h-won.html) ("he would linger in the men's room, and would report on what was going on in there. This person did this, and this person would wash his hands 25 times"). This was as a biglaw associate, not a law student. But please, tell me about how successful he is and how much cash he makes from his blog. A blog that we only view to get raise/bonus news btw, and the other 99% of the time is consumed by weird "wokeness" stuff. So yeah, I’d rather be Fitzpatrick.



jeez, you seem to have an ax to grind with ATL.

Is ATL garbage content? Yes
Is David Lat still sad about not being a supreme court litigator? Doubtful, but if he is, he's crying all the way to the bank. To say he isn't successful at what he does is just inaccurate.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

Now there's a charge.
Just kidding ... it's still FREE!




Return to “Discussion of Practice Areas?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests