DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L) Forum

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DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2022 4:33 pm

Hi TLS brain trust! I was wondering if anyone had any insight on whether it is possible to get into DC big law as an entry-level litigation associate.

I am a rising 3L at NYU, currently summering at a NYC V10. I love the firm, and I'm having a great time, but my wife got a job offer in DC that she cannot turn down. I don't want to do long distance, so I'm hoping to be able to move to DC. (For context, I would rather leave big law than do long distance.)

The V10 I'm working at has a DC presence, but it is incredibly small (not Skadden). I would love to stay with this firm, but I am not sure that it will be in the cards for me given its small DC presence. I had decent grades after 1L (top ~30-40%), but I will be in the top 10% after 2L. Does DC Big Law hire 3Ls? If so, how & when do they hire?

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Sun Jun 05, 2022 5:49 pm

Would you be willing to pivot to a transactional practice? 3L hiring is needs-based, and general lit is rarely one of the needy groups at most firms.

Clerking is also something you should look at, although it'd exacerbate the LDR problem in the short run. Would be a good way to convert on your stronger 2L grades.

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jun 05, 2022 6:44 pm

I heard through the grapevines that some firms are interested in expanding their DC transactional practices to match the size of their NYC practices, so there are many opportunities as a transactional associate. I'm a current transactional summer at a DC firm and it seems this is generally true. If you're dead set on lit I think there might be demand in specific practice areas that are really more regulatory than lit such as FCPA, FDA, employment, telecoms, trade controls etc, which fall under lit groups at firms. Not familiar with general commercial lit or white collar which are what you might consider "traditional" lit practices.

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 06, 2022 7:23 am

thanks all! OP here - do you know which transactional practice areas in DC are expanding quickly / may be hiring? I have tried out some cap markets work, but I figure that there won't be too many IPOs in DC. would love to get some experience this summer in whichever transactional practices may be hiring.

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 06, 2022 8:40 am

Cravath just opened a DC office đź‘€

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by CanadianWolf » Mon Jun 06, 2022 8:58 am

Amtrak Acela--a bit less than 3 hours from NYC to DC-- may be helpful if you need an extra year or so to find a suitable position in Wash DC.

If determined to start in DC, you may want to consider federal government positions if financially feasible in order to establish a specialty that may open up biglaw or boutique litigation options.

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 06, 2022 9:32 am

CanadianWolf wrote: ↑
Mon Jun 06, 2022 8:58 am
Amtrak Acela--a bit less than 3 hours from NYC to DC-- may be helpful if you need an extra year or so to find a suitable position in Wash DC.

If determined to start in DC, you may want to consider federal government positions if financially feasible in order to establish a specialty that may open up biglaw or boutique litigation options.
I don’t mean to be rude but I don’t think simply switching to applying to federal government jobs is going to be any easier than getting DC big law, especially if OP has no public service experience on their resume. OP is a 3L which means they’re only really eligible for honors programs and those spots are far fewer and harder to obtain than most, if not all, BL positions.

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by CanadianWolf » Mon Jun 06, 2022 12:53 pm

I do not know details of the OP's experience prior to & during law school.

If OP wants to be in DC, then OP should apply & let the government employer decide whether or not OP would be a desirable hire.

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by nixy » Mon Jun 06, 2022 1:25 pm

Very few federal agencies hire out of law school outside of the honors programs. When they require experience, it’s a hard bar; if you don’t have the requisite experience your application won’t be considered.

Not saying that the OP shouldn’t give it a shot, but the primary options will be honors programs.

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 06, 2022 3:30 pm

OP here - I think gov’t honors programs would be a stretch given my resume, but who knows. Cravath DC office would probably also be a stretch…

To the extent that any DC big law firms hire, how would I get my foot in the door? Or should I just wait for postings later in the summer?

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by parkslope » Mon Jun 06, 2022 9:36 pm

I guess I find the replies suggesting that OP abandon litigation for transactional work to get a job in DC to be a bit much. There are lots of firms in DC and litigation/regulatory is most of what they do. I get that like, Covington would be difficult but there are numerous firms that are less selective, like, say, Akin Gump or Arent Fox. OP already has a V10 imprimatur and a good reason to move to DC.

The first step would be to angle for a move to DC after you graduate at your current firm. If the firm says no, that is also a good point to bring up when you're applying as a 3L.

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 06, 2022 10:10 pm

parkslope wrote: ↑
Mon Jun 06, 2022 9:36 pm
I guess I find the replies suggesting that OP abandon litigation for transactional work to get a job in DC to be a bit much. There are lots of firms in DC and litigation/regulatory is most of what they do. I get that like, Covington would be difficult but there are numerous firms that are less selective, like, say, Akin Gump or Arent Fox. OP already has a V10 imprimatur and a good reason to move to DC.

The first step would be to angle for a move to DC after you graduate at your current firm. If the firm says no, that is also a good point to bring up when you're applying as a 3L.
OP here, thank you so much. This makes a ton of sense. I'll apply broadly to some of the lower ranked firms in DC and hope for the best. I definitely plan on asking my firm at the end of the summer, but I'm not counting any eggs. TY all!!

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by ball is life » Wed Jun 08, 2022 8:05 am

parkslope wrote: ↑
Mon Jun 06, 2022 9:36 pm
I guess I find the replies suggesting that OP abandon litigation for transactional work to get a job in DC to be a bit much. There are lots of firms in DC and litigation/regulatory is most of what they do. I get that like, Covington would be difficult but there are numerous firms that are less selective, like, say, Akin Gump or Arent Fox. OP already has a V10 imprimatur and a good reason to move to DC.

The first step would be to angle for a move to DC after you graduate at your current firm. If the firm says no, that is also a good point to bring up when you're applying as a 3L.
I don't think it's this straightforward. The firms that are less selective GPA wise in DC tend to have small summer classes and are more selective on fit. That's not to say it's not worth applying. I only applied to DC firms and it worked out ok but in hindsight I probably should have listened to career services and bid some NY firms with large summer classes as a backup.

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Re: DC Litigation Big Law (as a rising 3L)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 08, 2022 4:44 pm

Not a top corporate shop in DC, but WilmerHale is trying to expand its corporate group nationwide, including in DC. A V10 summer should have grades that are above what WH is looking for for a corporate position. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’d have a real shot in the litigation group at WH (or the other comparable litigation groups) since there’s no mention of a clerkship in your OP.

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