Another 3L Biglaw Hiring Question

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Another 3L Biglaw Hiring Question

Post by Anonymous User » Sun May 10, 2020 11:15 pm

I know there are a number of these, but I have a series of questions that I am looking for a bit of personalized advice on. Background: Rising 3L at UT, just under top 25%, no BigLaw SA. Targeting BigLaw in Texas, but no particular practice group or city.

What is the best strategy/timeline on 3L BigLaw apps, especially given the pandemic causing uncertainty and delaying the incoming class? I have read the other threads regarding tailoring each application and perhaps focusing on L&E or Bankruptcy due to the virus.

Next, I am applying for clerkships as well. Can 3Ls apply for entry level positions to start after a clerkship (my intuition says no)? If not, when do judicial clerks begin applying for post-clerkship jobs?

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nealric

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Re: Another 3L Biglaw Hiring Question

Post by nealric » Mon May 11, 2020 10:17 am

I wouldn't get your hopes up. 3L hiring without a 2L SA is a tough proposition even in the best of times. Firms are cancelling summer classes and delaying start dates for people summering. I'd wait until at least the fall before trying to seriously engage. Clerkships would be my primary focus- a federal clerkship would allow you to hit "reset" on biglaw recruiting and give some time for the recovery to play out. That said, it doesn't hurt to network to the extent possible and keep your ear to the ground. If we see a "v" recovery, it's possible firms will be scrambling to meet an uptick in demand a year from now.

Don't try to tailor your resume to bankruptcy or L&E because you think it will make the firm interested. Unless you have deep background in one of those fields, you aren't going to be a compelling candidate just because you've taken a few classes. If they do have sudden needs because of COVID, they are going to need people who know the field, not someone who will take a year or two to get up to speed. During the great recession, my old firm actually laid off some first year bankruptcy people even though the senior associates and partners were billing 3,000+ hours. If you were genuinely interested in one of those fields before COVID, by all means continue, but don't let the tail wag the dog.

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Re: Another 3L Biglaw Hiring Question

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 11, 2020 11:04 am

nealric wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 10:17 am
I wouldn't get your hopes up. 3L hiring without a 2L SA is a tough proposition even in the best of times. Firms are cancelling summer classes and delaying start dates for people summering. I'd wait until at least the fall before trying to seriously engage. Clerkships would be my primary focus- a federal clerkship would allow you to hit "reset" on biglaw recruiting and give some time for the recovery to play out. That said, it doesn't hurt to network to the extent possible and keep your ear to the ground. If we see a "v" recovery, it's possible firms will be scrambling to meet an uptick in demand a year from now.

Don't try to tailor your resume to bankruptcy or L&E because you think it will make the firm interested. Unless you have deep background in one of those fields, you aren't going to be a compelling candidate just because you've taken a few classes. If they do have sudden needs because of COVID, they are going to need people who know the field, not someone who will take a year or two to get up to speed. During the great recession, my old firm actually laid off some first year bankruptcy people even though the senior associates and partners were billing 3,000+ hours. If you were genuinely interested in one of those fields before COVID, by all means continue, but don't let the tail wag the dog.
I was in the same boat as you last summer (albeit the economic uncertainty) and my grades were much worse than yours, although I attend a school that's ranked a bit better as well. I actually starting reaching out way after I got to campus - in about late Jan/February, and I was able to snag something - although it's been pushed to Jan 2021. That isn't to say you will actually get BigLaw, but it does you no harm to start emailing lawyers and networking.

Networking isn't solely about getting a job in the immediate future, it's about getting yourself out there so that people keep your name in the picture throughout your career when anything comes up. Applying for clerkship definitely helps, but you still have to network. Start now, don't worry about an immediate end outcome, just try to learn as much as you can. You'll end up in the right place if you're consistent about it.

Just 1 thing - don't limit your search to Texas. What I found is that I had more value in other markets because they rarely had candidates with my school/credentials. This forum may not reflect it as much, but there are lawyers/recruiters who value diversity in all forms, and you only need 1 gig.

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Re: Another 3L Biglaw Hiring Question

Post by decimalsanddollars » Mon May 11, 2020 11:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 11:15 pm
I know there are a number of these, but I have a series of questions that I am looking for a bit of personalized advice on. Background: Rising 3L at UT, just under top 25%, no BigLaw SA. Targeting BigLaw in Texas, but no particular practice group or city.

What is the best strategy/timeline on 3L BigLaw apps, especially given the pandemic causing uncertainty and delaying the incoming class? I have read the other threads regarding tailoring each application and perhaps focusing on L&E or Bankruptcy due to the virus.

Next, I am applying for clerkships as well. Can 3Ls apply for entry level positions to start after a clerkship (my intuition says no)? If not, when do judicial clerks begin applying for post-clerkship jobs?
PM me for specific advice, if you want. I went to UT and am clerking.

Advice about clerking: if you want to clerk, apply early and broadly. For now, that means ASAP, because you missed the wave of UT-to-Texas-district-judges hiring that mostly goes on between January and early March of 2L. Some judges are still hiring for 2021, but the pipeline judges have likely hired. When applying, consider whether you want to litigate, what kind of work you want to do, and how each clerkship you apply to would get you toward that kind of work. Then you can decide whether far-flung mag clerkship would be worth it. Def talk to the clerkship office people about strategies sooner rather than later. Consider doing the write-on this summer if you're not on a journal yet. All this assumes you want to clerk; if clerking is a backup option, make sure to tailor your applications to ones you'd actually want to do, but still start working on that ASAP.

Advice about 3L job search in Texas: it's going to be really, really rough this time around. Look into Long Career Launch Program as a backup, govt programs, etc. If you are serious about bankruptcy/restructuring work in the private sector, talk to Prof Westbrook ASAP (and take the relevant classes if you haven't already, preferably with him). I know less about L&E, but the classes UT has for it are good, and there are a couple relevant clinics you should consider. Note that small and medium-sized firms in major Texas cities are doing just fine right now, so you might get lucky in the non-biglaw private sector.

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Re: Another 3L Biglaw Hiring Question

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 11, 2020 11:54 am

decimalsanddollars wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 11:35 am
PM me for specific advice, if you want. I went to UT and am clerking.

Advice about clerking: if you want to clerk, apply early and broadly. For now, that means ASAP, because you missed the wave of UT-to-Texas-district-judges hiring that mostly goes on between January and early March of 2L. Some judges are still hiring for 2021, but the pipeline judges have likely hired. When applying, consider whether you want to litigate, what kind of work you want to do, and how each clerkship you apply to would get you toward that kind of work. Then you can decide whether far-flung mag clerkship would be worth it. Def talk to the clerkship office people about strategies sooner rather than later. Consider doing the write-on this summer if you're not on a journal yet. All this assumes you want to clerk; if clerking is a backup option, make sure to tailor your applications to ones you'd actually want to do, but still start working on that ASAP.

Advice about 3L job search in Texas: it's going to be really, really rough this time around. Look into Long Career Launch Program as a backup, govt programs, etc. If you are serious about bankruptcy/restructuring work in the private sector, talk to Prof Westbrook ASAP (and take the relevant classes if you haven't already, preferably with him). I know less about L&E, but the classes UT has for it are good, and there are a couple relevant clinics you should consider. Note that small and medium-sized firms in major Texas cities are doing just fine right now, so you might get lucky in the non-biglaw private sector.
OP here. Appreciate the advice. I may reach out soon.

I have sent several clerkship applications already (10 maybe?), and I have a list of ~48 others that the clerkship program has reviewed and given feedback on. I believe a new hiring program might have been put in place the year after you left if my math is right. This hiring plan delays things a bit so on-plan judges don't receive applications until June 15. I have been working closely with the clerkship program and following their guidelines and recommended timelines, so I think I am doing alright there. (?)

Regarding journals, I am on two secondary journals.

I don't really have any interest in bankruptcy, but I have a bit of L&E experience pre-law school as well as my 1L summer. I did one non-relevant clinic 2L, but I haven't gotten into any others.

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decimalsanddollars

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Re: Another 3L Biglaw Hiring Question

Post by decimalsanddollars » Mon May 11, 2020 12:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 11:54 am
I have sent several clerkship applications already (10 maybe?), and I have a list of ~48 others that the clerkship program has reviewed and given feedback on. I believe a new hiring program might have been put in place the year after you left if my math is right. This hiring plan delays things a bit so on-plan judges don't receive applications until June 15. I have been working closely with the clerkship program and following their guidelines and recommended timelines, so I think I am doing alright there. (?)
Right, forgot about the Plan. I think about half the Texas pipeline judges are on-plan and the other half are off; the off-plan ones have likely hired, and the on-plan ones are holding spaces until summer. Sounds like you're on top of it, so I'd recommend staying the course.
Regarding journals, I am on two secondary journals.
That's plenty, so feel free to disregard the write-on advice. Try to get on the board of one or the other (or both) if you can.
I don't really have any interest in bankruptcy, but I have a bit of L&E experience pre-law school as well as my 1L summer. I did one non-relevant clinic 2L, but I haven't gotten into any others.
If you don't have any interest in bankruptcy and haven't taken the classes, I wouldn't recommend pivoting into it now just to increase your odds. The market could turn around quickly, or restructuring work could get filled by people who are already there or a year ahead of you. Most of the firms you'd be looking to enter would prefer to repurpose existing associates rather than increase headcount. If you were to pursue this substantive-focus strategy, I'd stick with L&E, but I'd still keep up the clerkship hunt as I think that's your best bet under these circumstances.

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Re: Another 3L Biglaw Hiring Question

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 12, 2020 2:00 pm

OP again. Thanks for the advice, decimalsanddollars. Could you offer any insight on what the post-clerkship job hunt looks like? Did you have a position secured before starting your clerkship?

decimalsanddollars

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Re: Another 3L Biglaw Hiring Question

Post by decimalsanddollars » Tue May 12, 2020 3:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 2:00 pm
OP again. Thanks for the advice, decimalsanddollars. Could you offer any insight on what the post-clerkship job hunt looks like? Did you have a position secured before starting your clerkship?
Happy to talk through this in more in PMs, but I'll say that the post-clerkship job hunt sometimes starts before one's clerkship does (depending on desired practice and whether you're looking for biglaw, lit boutiques, or govt), and I'll add that I secured my position after starting my clerkship.

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Re: Another 3L Biglaw Hiring Question

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 12, 2020 3:38 pm

decimalsanddollars wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 3:27 pm
Happy to talk through this in more in PMs, but I'll say that the post-clerkship job hunt sometimes starts before one's clerkship does (depending on desired practice and whether you're looking for biglaw, lit boutiques, or govt), and I'll add that I secured my position after starting my clerkship.
I'll PM you soon! Thanks. I have to do some other stuff to make myself eligible to use PMs apparently.

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