Insurance defense trap?

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Insurance defense trap?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:45 pm

Just started 2L at UT/UCLA/Vandy (transferred from T1). Clerked for a midsize firm for decent pay this past summer, received an offer to return for 2L summer. I accepted but am considering reneging because the firm does a bunch of ID work, which I wasn’t aware of the problems with until getting deep into TLS forums. Assuming everything goes well 2L summer, I would return as an associate atty post-graduation with starting salary of around 100k. However, I’m not even sure how to tell whether it’s an ID trap - the firm has a wide variety of practice groups and deals with family, health, IP, and a bunch of other clientele. I just haven’t seen enough as a 1L clerk to know how much the firm revolves around ID.

Based on other TLS posts referring to ID as shitlaw, I feel that I am greatly limiting myself if I don’t renege, but I also worry about being a transfer because my GPA resets (won’t have my 1L GPA to ride on for January 2021 OCI) and if I strike out then I will regret not having stuck with the offer, especially because I do not want PI work. My target market is extremely small, and because there is only one T50 school in the state (which I’m obviously not attending, my current school’s OCI won’t help me much with the opportunities I want. Biglaw and the super-regionals which pay BL salaries are also very limited, so while I think I could swing it with a good t20 GPA, a BL/equivalent 2L offer in the market I want is far from a guarantee. All of this is compounded by the economic downturn & covid effects on hiring.

Please help!

2013

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Re: Insurance defense trap?

Post by 2013 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 7:33 pm

Why renege now? Why not wait until OCI and then renege?

Whatislaw

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Re: Insurance defense trap?

Post by Whatislaw » Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:45 am

Take it easy, breath in and out. While it is generally bad form to accept and reneg an offer, that is certainly an option to take and you may want to consider it given your unique circumstances as it eliminates your worry about being left with nothing if your aspirations for Big Law do not pan out. As to insurance defense, depending on what your practice area is, it is not the end of the road or a "trap" as people describe it to be. It's important to keep a perspective on how few people actually practice in "Big Law". By all means aspire for it (as many of us do), but an insurance defense job can be a perfectly good job as you still practice law. The only difference is you have a tripartite relationship and you have to deal with reporting requirements to carriers.

sparty99

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Re: Insurance defense trap?

Post by sparty99 » Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:45 pm
Just started 2L at UT/UCLA/Vandy (transferred from T1). Clerked for a midsize firm for decent pay this past summer, received an offer to return for 2L summer. I accepted but am considering reneging because the firm does a bunch of ID work, which I wasn’t aware of the problems with until getting deep into TLS forums. Assuming everything goes well 2L summer, I would return as an associate atty post-graduation with starting salary of around 100k. However, I’m not even sure how to tell whether it’s an ID trap - the firm has a wide variety of practice groups and deals with family, health, IP, and a bunch of other clientele. I just haven’t seen enough as a 1L clerk to know how much the firm revolves around ID.

Based on other TLS posts referring to ID as shitlaw, I feel that I am greatly limiting myself if I don’t renege, but I also worry about being a transfer because my GPA resets (won’t have my 1L GPA to ride on for January 2021 OCI) and if I strike out then I will regret not having stuck with the offer, especially because I do not want PI work. My target market is extremely small, and because there is only one T50 school in the state (which I’m obviously not attending, my current school’s OCI won’t help me much with the opportunities I want. Biglaw and the super-regionals which pay BL salaries are also very limited, so while I think I could swing it with a good t20 GPA, a BL/equivalent 2L offer in the market I want is far from a guarantee. All of this is compounded by the economic downturn & covid effects on hiring.

Please help!
You sound like a spoiled brat. You are being offered $100k and the opportunity to litigate. Insurance defense firms offer better experience than big law. You actually go to court, take depositions, go to trial. Also, it is quite easy to lateral to big law from ID if you do employment, IP, commercial litigation. The firm should pull their offer from you and you should see how you feel then with nothing.

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polareagle

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Re: Insurance defense trap?

Post by polareagle » Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:26 am

sparty99 wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:27 am
You sound like a spoiled brat. You are being offered $100k and the opportunity to litigate. Insurance defense firms offer better experience than big law. You actually go to court, take depositions, go to trial. Also, it is quite easy to lateral to big law from ID if you do employment, IP, commercial litigation. The firm should pull their offer from you and you should see how you feel then with nothing.
Tone aside, I generally agree that ID can give you good practical experience and that $100k+ is a good for a non-biglaw salary. I'm not as sanguine as Sparty about it being "quite easy" to lateral within those areas, but it is certainly doable. Your best bet would be to look on LinkedIn for lawyers who were, but no longer are, at the firm and see what they're doing now. If you can't find any/many of them in biglaw, it tells you something. If you can't find many of them period, it tells you something else (that people are omitting this from their resume). If you find a lot of them in a particular practice area (say, L&E), then this gives you an idea of what you should focus on if you work at the firm. As others have said, there's no harm in seeing if you can get a regular biglaw offer and then reneging, but definitely don't renege until you have an offer in hand!

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XxSpyKEx

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Re: Insurance defense trap?

Post by XxSpyKEx » Sun Aug 23, 2020 9:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:45 pm
Just started 2L at UT/UCLA/Vandy (transferred from T1). Clerked for a midsize firm for decent pay this past summer, received an offer to return for 2L summer. I accepted but am considering reneging because the firm does a bunch of ID work, which I wasn’t aware of the problems with until getting deep into TLS forums. Assuming everything goes well 2L summer, I would return as an associate atty post-graduation with starting salary of around 100k. However, I’m not even sure how to tell whether it’s an ID trap - the firm has a wide variety of practice groups and deals with family, health, IP, and a bunch of other clientele. I just haven’t seen enough as a 1L clerk to know how much the firm revolves around ID.

Based on other TLS posts referring to ID as shitlaw, I feel that I am greatly limiting myself if I don’t renege, but I also worry about being a transfer because my GPA resets (won’t have my 1L GPA to ride on for January 2021 OCI) and if I strike out then I will regret not having stuck with the offer, especially because I do not want PI work. My target market is extremely small, and because there is only one T50 school in the state (which I’m obviously not attending, my current school’s OCI won’t help me much with the opportunities I want. Biglaw and the super-regionals which pay BL salaries are also very limited, so while I think I could swing it with a good t20 GPA, a BL/equivalent 2L offer in the market I want is far from a guarantee. All of this is compounded by the economic downturn & covid effects on hiring.

Please help!
It actually doesn't sound like a bad firm that you received an offer from. Some of these midsized firms have somewhat diversified practices, where they do insurance defense but they are also have other practice groups. I actually have former classmates that practice at some of these firms (including one who went from biglaw to a midsized firm in NYC). While the firms themselves have an insurance defense practice, the classmates themselves don't do ID work. So it really just depends on which group you're being considered for, rather than whether the firm has some sort of ID practice. Your lateral options will largely be based on what you wind up practicing. For example, if you practice intellectual property at the firm, your money exit option will be in IP, not insurance defense. The fact that you didn't even know the firm had an ID practice during your entire summer associateship makes me think that they are considering/hiring you for their ID group. Why not simply email or call them and clarify exactly what your role would be there and what types of work you'll be getting (i.e., ID or other stuff)?

12YrsAnAssociate

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Re: Insurance defense trap?

Post by 12YrsAnAssociate » Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:13 pm

Even if you do insurance work, when it comes time to lateral, don't call it insurance defense. Call it commercial litigation or business litigation. Lots of top law firms represent insurance companies, because insurers are huge businesses that are sometimes involved with huge disputes. But if you portray the work as insurance defense, some know-nothing resume checker might throw your resume out. Conflicts can be a bitch if you want to go to a firm that sues insurers, but that's going to come up in lots of practice groups.

Whatislaw

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Re: Insurance defense trap?

Post by Whatislaw » Mon Aug 24, 2020 6:56 pm

12YrsAnAssociate wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:13 pm
Even if you do insurance work, when it comes time to lateral, don't call it insurance defense. Call it commercial litigation or business litigation. Lots of top law firms represent insurance companies, because insurers are huge businesses that are sometimes involved with huge disputes. But if you portray the work as insurance defense, some know-nothing resume checker might throw your resume out. Conflicts can be a bitch if you want to go to a firm that sues insurers, but that's going to come up in lots of practice groups.
This is a really good point. Insurance Defense isn't a "practice area". It's really just about who pays your bills. The problem is it carries a negative stereotype that can be true for areas like GL, CD, etc., but not necessarily true for other areas like L&E for example. The area of law you practice is what you would market your experience to be.

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Pneumonia

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Re: Insurance defense trap?

Post by Pneumonia » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:14 pm

A firm that pays 100k and has a diversified practice is not an ID trap. It may as good as biglaw on some metrics, but it is certainly much better than the traditional ID mill, which I would characterize as having some or all of:
--much lower salary (think 45-65k range);
--less defined compensation structure (e.g., "some of our associates make up to X!");
--a practices that focuses only on ID;
--high associate turnover;
--very high associate/partner ratio;
--fixed-fee structures with major clients, not hourly billing.

The firm you described sounds much more like a midlaw firm that happens to do some ID work. I would not be scared of that. Of course, if you want biglaw, then obviously this firm does not meet your goals. But it does not sound like the kind of place you should worry about or that you should leave off your resume. Midlaw and biglaw firms do ID work all the time. The difference is the cases are tough and/or complicated, as opposed to an ID mill where the firm gets paid $2,500/case or something.

I agree with the other poster who said that you should look at where other associates have exited to. I also agree that the firm sounds like one that you could get good general litigation experience at, and that you might be able to turn that experience into a lateral offer down the road. Again, you should research how the firm is viewed in the market. But again, it doesn't sound like an ID mill

JusticeJackson

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Re: Insurance defense trap?

Post by JusticeJackson » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:31 pm

And if you play your cards right a scummy plaintiff’s lawyer might tell you to eat a bowl of dicks.

https://abovethelaw.com/2019/12/small-f ... tions/amp/

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