To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

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To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:23 pm

Title says all. To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it? I'm a 2L at a lower T14. I'm slightly above median. Missed out on Big Law for this summer. I'll be at a midsize firm this summer in my home market. I know the chances of Big Law are slim at this point because of Covid-19 and the economic recession but I'm still going to try and apply anyway.

What networking strategies did you do? When did you start mass mailing? Who did you reach out to? Looking for advice here.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by Jkr231 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:45 pm

I worked for a few years at a smaller firm, established myself in my field, and lateraled to a big law firm. Lateraling from a mid-sized firm to big law isn’t that rare, just make sure your practice is at larger firms, network, and establish a good reputation.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:47 pm

I was in pretty much the same position as you last year, but I was a median student at a T30. Got a gig at a mid size for the summer. In addition to the obvious financial benefit of working in biglaw, I hated the firm I was at for the summer and started mass mailing the second week in. My grades improved drastically during my second year and I was top 25% by the time I started working in the summer.

I worked my way down the v100, first looking at whether any firm had an explicit posting for incoming associates (pretty much none did at that time). I sent materials to every firm and basically heard nothing back. Mass mailing yielded no results for me.

A few big firms were conducting 3L OCI at my school, but they backed out. I don't even know how I was going to finesse taking the day off work to go interview at school--on the same day my current firm was there!

While going through this, I would regularly check my school's Symplicity site for job postings. As the summer went on, more firms began posting openings--which I obviously applied to. The majority of the postings were for specific groups, mostly transactional. I had been very litigation focused and was working in a litigation firm, but I had taken some classes (like sec reg) that were still relevant to transactional work.

I was hoping to have an offer before the summer ended, that way I could turn down the mid size firm's offer to return. That didn't happen. By the time I had to let my firm know whether I was accepting their offer, I did not have any interviews or offers from other firms, so I accepted their offer.

I continued applying to openings on Symplicity and eventually landed two interviews with two NYC offices for v100 firms. I ended up with two offers and accepted one. I reneged on my previous acceptance a day later, explaining to them that the opportunity to work at a big firm was something, from a financial standpoint, I simply couldn't turn down. They seemed to understand and even though I hated reneging, I don't regret the decision. I did everything I could to avoid doing that, but it was what it was at the end of the day.

Other things that I also did:

Went to career services--they were absolutely useless and just told me to apply places.

Networked--I asked some professors whether they knew of any firms that were hiring, but that didn't really do much. I had some professors tell me that if I got an interview at X firm, they'd be sure to put in a good word with people they knew.

Everything is obviously different now and I'm not sure any of this is useful under the circumstances, but if you take away anything from this, it should be that it is possible to make the move. Also, it was an extremely demoralizing process (having a success rate of basically 1%) and I felt like giving up many times--don't.

TL;DR: (1) It can be done; (2) I applied through Simplicity and that was the only thing that actually worked.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:56 pm

Develop case handling skills and a proficiency in a practice area that Big Law practices. Stay in touch with Associates who leave your firm because they are a good rope line to Big Law (if they go into it). Networking is an avenue, but more forced. Sometimes its the random connections you develop through friends and colleagues that end up helping you.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:00 pm

I got lucky and landed a district court clerkship.

But I have several friends from our T50 who lateraled to big law a few years out of law school. The key is to get good experience in a relevant field. There always seems to be plenty of opportunities for mid-level/senior associates who actually know what they're doing and at that point, firms care a lot less about pedigree, grades, etc.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by objctnyrhnr » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:41 pm

I was going to say clerking at a relatively high level (ie not a state trial or intermediate appeals court) is often a good back spot. However, if the market is ice cold it likely won’t work...but at the same time that’s true regardless of where you’re coming from although the difference is that clerking typically has an end date.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:04 pm

I was in your exact same shoes, except I was slightly below median after 2L and worked in-house my 2L summer. The key for next year is to focus on grades. You have to determine what practice you're interested in and take lots of courses/internships in that field for 3L (firms will be looking to fill specific practice needs with entry level associates). I was able to boost my GPA and graduate well above median and received a biglaw offer through Symplicty after I had taken the bar exam. Any postings you see on Symplicity will be worth investing a lot of time and effort. Make sure your cover letters/resume are specifically tailored and on point. You must send them to career services for review before submitting.

I would also write articles your 3L, particularly related to the area of law/practice you're interested in, and signup for internships to boost your resume. You want to finish law school strong. If you think you might be interested in being a litigator, I would highly encourage you to apply for a judicial externship if you haven't done so already. If you want to do corporate and you're in DC or any other metropolitan area, big fed externship is a must.

Most people say career services is useless and I generally agree, but there is always one person there that has connections and someone recruiters look to for new associates. Find that person and tell them you're hungry and to keep you on their radar when firms reach out.

But remember, take easy classes in the area of law you want to pursue and boost that GPA. That should be your top priority. Lastly, don't stress. Everyone I knew who graduated without a job, somehow, someway found their way into biglaw, whether it was during 3L, upon graduating, or upon passing the bar exam.

The good news is that you were able to get a gig at a midsize firm, make sure you get an offer. If push comes to shove, lateralling will be much easier than getting big law in 3L. Good luck.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Apr 24, 2020 1:16 pm

Coming out of a regional law school in a non-NYC east coast major city, I got a job with a state agency doing enforcement work in October after I took the bar. It was basically litigation-lite as it was administrative hearings but it rarely got that far. Alot of investigations and settlements (with good size numbers). Also was there during the crypto boom so got to do a good amount of cutting edge investigations which is not usually the case with with these types of agencies. I was there for about a year and a half when a friend from law school reached out and asked me to apply to his V40 for a transactional role. Talked up my settlement/crypto/financial investigation experience in interviews and got the job. I did have to take a class year hit, which I was fine with because I had never worked in a firm before. I'm a third year now doing a mix of capital markets, M&A and VC Financing. Obviously this was a different time as my legal market was booming at the time, might not be the case for a little while.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by s1m4 » Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:49 pm

I essentially worked for a solo for a few years after law school (did not get biglaw). Then lateraled to a slightly larger small firm, and then, after many many many applications, got a job at a lower V100 I am now, getting paid market, and doing corporate work.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Apr 24, 2020 7:42 pm

struck out at a t14 below median and stressed out. as others have said, focus on improving your gpa and try to demonstrate interest in a particular field. if youre above median after 1L you can likely get Latin honors if you work hard, and if you have Latin honors from a t14 and relevant practice group interest you should be ok.

i ended up above median with a specialty court clerkship and now work in biglaw in a related practice group. many of my law school classmates lateraled to biglaw after a year in midlaw or a fellowship. do good work and you’ll be ok, but it’s not gonna be easy. also, do a few mock interviews with alumni or career services.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by jlyyap » Fri Apr 24, 2020 11:51 pm

T14 3L, struck out last year. Worked at a smaller boutique firm over the summer and then mass mailed like my LIFE depended on it over the summer into the fall and snagged a biglaw job in early January.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:40 am

I took a different route. I took as many tax courses as I could at my T30 law school. Although my overall gpa was around median, I did well in my tax classes. I also worked while in school (Externship, Internship) and showed strong interest in tax. I was accepted to all of the Tax LLM programs that I applied to and I went to NYU. Now, I am in a V20 law firm. Hope my experience shed some light to those who did not get big law jobs after 2L.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by Arcticassociate » Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:24 pm

Graduated outside top 1/3 of T40 school, so BL was not guaranteed. I got my BL position while doing a state trial court clerkship. To echo above, show interest and aptitude in a particular area. I think spending significant time on cover letters was important (i.e. making them specific, engaging/energetic, organized, and concise). Show some personality during your interviews/don't just regurgitate the right answers--be someone partners want representing the firm to clients. And, to the greatest extent possible, focus--I thought about interviews during walks/runs/showers/while on the phone with parents (e.g. thoughtful answers to likely questions).

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:17 pm

I don't disagree with anything in this thread, but I do think the supply/demand element of hiring gets understated in these types of threads. If you are in a practice area that is booming, there will be countless opportunities for biglaw or otherwise, especially when you are a few years out. If there is no work in the area you're interested in, you can't expect to get many bites.

I know a girl in BL who got the gig as a 3L. She has no genuine interest in her practice area, but she was smart enough to realize that if she wanted BL, she could lie about her interest in an interview and (I assume) change practice groups later on. Not recommending you go in with that attitude, as you may burn some bridges.

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Re: To those of you who did not do Big Law 2L Summer but now work in Big Law, how did you do it?

Post by plurilingue » Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:23 am

My friend had excellent grades and struck out at 2L OCI due to personality. It was an uphill climb from there, because nobody with his grades would be biglaw-intended without having a SA. So there was a red flag.

He did 100 interviews through 2L and 3L, and got hired by nobody through the front door. He ultimately specialized into a niche area and got a V100 practice group. He then clerked and lateraled to a better practice group. It all worked out.

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