Big Law to Family Law?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
crouton2012

New
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:10 pm

Big Law to Family Law?

Post by crouton2012 » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:02 pm

I've been in big law (corporate/securities) for the last eight years. Recently lateraled to my second firm for a junior partner position. Even though I'm getting the opportunities I moved here for I have this nagging interest in family law. I've done a lot of guardianship pro bono work through my firms and handled some pro bono adoptions. Other than having a strong background in finance I can't imagine I have many transferable skills. I would chalk this up to pandemic soul searching but I've been having this day dream pretty much since I graduated law school and felt shoveled down the OCI/big law path with everyone else. I know everyone says it's a miserable practice area but there are a lot of things that appeal to me: helping clients navigate difficult personal times, working with secrets and digging around for info, dealing with your own clients instead of built-in big law relationships with institutional clients, etc. Handling divorces seems really interesting and rewarding to me.

Has anyone here made the switch from corporate (or big law) to family law? Is it hard to make the jump? Thoughts?

Sackboy

Silver
Posts: 516
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:14 am

Re: Big Law to Family Law?

Post by Sackboy » Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:47 pm

I've seen people transition from twenty years of corporate legal practice to medical school. It's not really "is it hard/possible" and more "are you willing to do what it takes." If you're willing to take the income hit, potentially start over as a 1st year at a firm, move, or hang your own shingle, you can do it. I'm sure there are alumni from your school in the family law space that would be happy to chat with you about making the transition.

I'm sorry I don't have anything useful to offer than that.

Anonymous User
Posts: 369281
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Big Law to Family Law?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:17 pm

crouton2012 wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:02 pm
I've been in big law (corporate/securities) for the last eight years. Recently lateraled to my second firm for a junior partner position. Even though I'm getting the opportunities I moved here for I have this nagging interest in family law. I've done a lot of guardianship pro bono work through my firms and handled some pro bono adoptions. Other than having a strong background in finance I can't imagine I have many transferable skills. I would chalk this up to pandemic soul searching but I've been having this day dream pretty much since I graduated law school and felt shoveled down the OCI/big law path with everyone else. I know everyone says it's a miserable practice area but there are a lot of things that appeal to me: helping clients navigate difficult personal times, working with secrets and digging around for info, dealing with your own clients instead of built-in big law relationships with institutional clients, etc. Handling divorces seems really interesting and rewarding to me.

Has anyone here made the switch from corporate (or big law) to family law? Is it hard to make the jump? Thoughts?
I can’t really help you as far as telling you what the transition would be like because I’m a first year family law associate, but I can tell you from my experience that it’s not nearly as bad as a lot of people on this website would lead you to believe. I did very well at a T2 law school, struck out at OCI, ended up at a firm that does divorce work for people who generally make at least six figures and I’m overall pretty happy so far after my first six months or so of practice. Pay is pretty decent. There’s a lot of gamesmanship and weird issues that pop up all the time. It’s not super heavy on brief writing (which can be a positive or negative depending on your preferences). It’s nice dealing with clients as individuals—although it is absolutely true that your clients will lie to you. There are a lot of highs and lows emotionally because you’re dealing with custody. Good luck to you if you do decide to go down this road.

User avatar
Lacepiece23

Silver
Posts: 1168
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:10 pm

Re: Big Law to Family Law?

Post by Lacepiece23 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:39 pm

This isn’t totally the same, but I quit biglaw to do plaintiffs employment. I never really practiced employment law, and I just hung my own shingle.

I’ll say this, I’d 100% just going it with your own firm if you can stomach that. Some of the things that hedge against your success you will have.

It’s important to have money to finance advertising in some fashion and to not need to dip and take bad cases. With your biglaw money, you should be able to do that.

From there, I joined associations and leverage listseves to answer questions. There’s a lot of practical things that you won’t know and those are a godsend.

If I were you, I wouldn’t want to go and be an associate somewhere. You’ll make way less money longterm.

Having your own firm isn’t a path to guaranteed riches while doing what you love. But the average solo makes like 170k and I’ve seen that number pretty consistently in talking to people. If you can grow and leverage, you can make biglaw associate money.

Anonymous User
Posts: 369281
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Big Law to Family Law?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:22 pm

Lacepiece23 wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:39 pm
This isn’t totally the same, but I quit biglaw to do plaintiffs employment. I never really practiced employment law, and I just hung my own shingle.

I’ll say this, I’d 100% just going it with your own firm if you can stomach that. Some of the things that hedge against your success you will have.

It’s important to have money to finance advertising in some fashion and to not need to dip and take bad cases. With your biglaw money, you should be able to do that.

From there, I joined associations and leverage listseves to answer questions. There’s a lot of practical things that you won’t know and those are a godsend.

If I were you, I wouldn’t want to go and be an associate somewhere. You’ll make way less money longterm.

Having your own firm isn’t a path to guaranteed riches while doing what you love. But the average solo makes like 170k and I’ve seen that number pretty consistently in talking to people. If you can grow and leverage, you can make biglaw associate money.
How did you learn employment law? How did you leverage your biglaw experience?

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


User avatar
Lacepiece23

Silver
Posts: 1168
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:10 pm

Re: Big Law to Family Law?

Post by Lacepiece23 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:22 pm
Lacepiece23 wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:39 pm
This isn’t totally the same, but I quit biglaw to do plaintiffs employment. I never really practiced employment law, and I just hung my own shingle.

I’ll say this, I’d 100% just going it with your own firm if you can stomach that. Some of the things that hedge against your success you will have.

It’s important to have money to finance advertising in some fashion and to not need to dip and take bad cases. With your biglaw money, you should be able to do that.

From there, I joined associations and leverage listseves to answer questions. There’s a lot of practical things that you won’t know and those are a godsend.

If I were you, I wouldn’t want to go and be an associate somewhere. You’ll make way less money longterm.

Having your own firm isn’t a path to guaranteed riches while doing what you love. But the average solo makes like 170k and I’ve seen that number pretty consistently in talking to people. If you can grow and leverage, you can make biglaw associate money.
How did you learn employment law? How did you leverage your biglaw experience?
I wrote all of the content for my website. That was a great start. It took forever, but I now feel that I know the black letter law for the most part. There's a lot of practical things that I'm still learning, however.

Regarding leveraging biglaw, yeah, once you leave that world the cache of biglaw kind of leaves to. Sure, you'll be a better write and more attentive to detail than most, but that won't be what matters most.

In the small law world, it's sink or swim based on skills and business savvy. Clients do not care whatsoever about your previous background. They care if you can help them out now. Where it helps is having start up capital. Being able to turn down shit cases/matters can make all the difference when building your practice.

Anonymous User
Posts: 369281
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Big Law to Family Law?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:33 pm

Lacepiece23 wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:04 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:22 pm
Lacepiece23 wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:39 pm
This isn’t totally the same, but I quit biglaw to do plaintiffs employment. I never really practiced employment law, and I just hung my own shingle.

I’ll say this, I’d 100% just going it with your own firm if you can stomach that. Some of the things that hedge against your success you will have.

It’s important to have money to finance advertising in some fashion and to not need to dip and take bad cases. With your biglaw money, you should be able to do that.

From there, I joined associations and leverage listseves to answer questions. There’s a lot of practical things that you won’t know and those are a godsend.

If I were you, I wouldn’t want to go and be an associate somewhere. You’ll make way less money longterm.

Having your own firm isn’t a path to guaranteed riches while doing what you love. But the average solo makes like 170k and I’ve seen that number pretty consistently in talking to people. If you can grow and leverage, you can make biglaw associate money.
How did you learn employment law? How did you leverage your biglaw experience?
I wrote all of the content for my website. That was a great start. It took forever, but I now feel that I know the black letter law for the most part. There's a lot of practical things that I'm still learning, however.

Regarding leveraging biglaw, yeah, once you leave that world the cache of biglaw kind of leaves to. Sure, you'll be a better write and more attentive to detail than most, but that won't be what matters most.

In the small law world, it's sink or swim based on skills and business savvy. Clients do not care whatsoever about your previous background. They care if you can help them out now. Where it helps is having start up capital. Being able to turn down shit cases/matters can make all the difference when building your practice.
Thanks, my question was more whether the stuff you learned in BIGLAW helped at all with your new practice, or if it wasn't really applicable

And what resources did you use to learn BLL and procedure?

User avatar
Lacepiece23

Silver
Posts: 1168
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:10 pm

Re: Big Law to Family Law?

Post by Lacepiece23 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:33 pm
Lacepiece23 wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:04 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:22 pm
Lacepiece23 wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:39 pm
This isn’t totally the same, but I quit biglaw to do plaintiffs employment. I never really practiced employment law, and I just hung my own shingle.

I’ll say this, I’d 100% just going it with your own firm if you can stomach that. Some of the things that hedge against your success you will have.

It’s important to have money to finance advertising in some fashion and to not need to dip and take bad cases. With your biglaw money, you should be able to do that.

From there, I joined associations and leverage listseves to answer questions. There’s a lot of practical things that you won’t know and those are a godsend.

If I were you, I wouldn’t want to go and be an associate somewhere. You’ll make way less money longterm.

Having your own firm isn’t a path to guaranteed riches while doing what you love. But the average solo makes like 170k and I’ve seen that number pretty consistently in talking to people. If you can grow and leverage, you can make biglaw associate money.
How did you learn employment law? How did you leverage your biglaw experience?
I wrote all of the content for my website. That was a great start. It took forever, but I now feel that I know the black letter law for the most part. There's a lot of practical things that I'm still learning, however.

Regarding leveraging biglaw, yeah, once you leave that world the cache of biglaw kind of leaves to. Sure, you'll be a better write and more attentive to detail than most, but that won't be what matters most.

In the small law world, it's sink or swim based on skills and business savvy. Clients do not care whatsoever about your previous background. They care if you can help them out now. Where it helps is having start up capital. Being able to turn down shit cases/matters can make all the difference when building your practice.
Thanks, my question was more whether the stuff you learned in BIGLAW helped at all with your new practice, or if it wasn't really applicable

And what resources did you use to learn BLL and procedure?
It sort of helped. I mean, I'm in litigation so a lot of that is the same. But I've been surprised by the sheer amount of stuff I don't know that other plaintiffs lawyers do. I always presumed it to be the opposite case while practicing at the big firm.

It's nice having some confidence that I can figure stuff out and be more attentive to detail than the competition. But yeah, it's not really a great boost. The good habits that I've learned serve me well now.

I basically just Googled stuff. For your website, you'll want to write some in-depth stuff on your practice area and sub niches. If there wasn't something I didn't know, I tried to figure it out. I also used Reddit and other legal forums to ask for help and have people point me to treatises.

Lastly, once you'll get going, there will be listserves, like I mentioned above. These things are so valuable. I just read the chains every day and learn something new about my practice area.

FND

Bronze
Posts: 342
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:23 pm

Re: Big Law to Family Law?

Post by FND » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:55 pm

Lacepiece23 wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:59 pm
Lastly, once you'll get going, there will be listserves, like I mentioned above. These things are so valuable. I just read the chains every day and learn something new about my practice area.
I'll second listserves. I'm an expert at what I do, and I still use them. Except, I'm usually the one answering the questions. It helps keep me on my toes, and quite often it means looking something up that I only half-remember, in an environment where I don't mind making mistakes. I rarely do, but, if my answer is less than perfect, odds are someone else will provide an alternative answer.

If you're going solo, it also preserves your sanity, as it allows you to interact with other attorneys whenever you want. The only downside is that sometimes you'll pull your hair out in frustration - you'll be amazed at how many bad/lazy attorneys there are. Examples:
- Attorney asked "should I do X", and I definitively said no, then provided a long answer explaining the history of that doctrine, what the case law was, and how the last time it went to court what the outcome is. She then asked a follow up question basically asking if she could do it anyway.
- Attorney that mentions specifically doing Y regularly, which violates black letter law in the state!
- Attorneys asking questions you can answer by typing the exact same question into google

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Legal Employment”