StyrofoamWar wrote: Hopefullawstudent wrote:
Shellbelle wrote:Thinking about last minute throwing my hat in for USC - anybody have any opinion if it's even worth if or applying this late in the cycle would give me an automatic ding?
In the legal world, saying you have 5+ years in Big Law is making a huge statement. It means you've been an associate lawyer for a Big Law firm and that you may be making partner within the next 5 years.
What about paralegals? They're billing hours, working with clients, helping prepare briefs, researching, a whole lot of the same stuff a junior associate would do. You don't have to be an attorney to have big law experience, IMO. But you do have to be on the legal side of things, not the administrative.
Few paralegals are qualified (by normative customs) to say they "work in Big Law", or "have put time in Big Law", or "have a background/experience in Big Law". If a paralegal wishes to convey that he or she works for a Big Law firm, then the statement is "I've put in X years at a Big Law firm as a paralegal", or, "I worked as a paralegal for a Big Law firm".
I know I am stating things with a high degree of nuance (as law students are taught), but that's because it is generally unacceptable to say "5+ years Big Law experience" unless you are an associate. Saying it that way is as if you are trying to gain points for being associated with a Big Law firm. Anyone who would actually care about that would follow up with: "Oh yea? Which firm and how are things looking?" Meaning, 1) they'll assume you're an associate, and 2) they're asking about your chances for making partner.
If you answer with: "I was a paralegal", let the awkwardness commence.