L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

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surrealfx

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L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby surrealfx » Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:37 am

I'm a third-year litigation associate at a Vault 5 firm in Los Angeles. I graduated in the top 11% of a top-20 law school, which is also located in L.A., and I was a 3L participant in law review. I never clerked, but I did apply and interview in one case. I'm tired of the huge case teams at my firm that leave me doing minor parts of cases and with little or no input into case strategy. On most cases, there is another associate supervising. Then, there are at least two partners. I've never taken a deposition, and I don't even write the substantive motions on many cases. At my firm, it seems like 20-30 years of experience are needed to argue discovery motions or appear at status conferences. I'm looking for a job where I can do the majority of the work and have one supervisor--a partner. At this point, I'm not growing as an attorney and would like to do more of what interests me.

These are the characteristics I'm looking for in my ideal job. I realize that I may not be able to get them all, and I have not weighed their importance, but I tried to mention where I would or would not budge.

- Gives associates substantive legal work experience (such as writing major motions, depositions, court appearances, trial [although trial may be rare in some firms]. I think staffing cases with one partner and one to two associates is related to getting valuable work. I will not compromise on this.)
- Realistic chance to advance to partner or something similar (This would disqualify many big firms if they operate like mine, which hasn't made a litigation partner in several years. I will not compromise on this. I would like the next move to mean something as opposed to bouncing to another big firm for for two years, then being in the same position I am now [or worse, if I continue not to get substantive experience] two years down the road.)
- Roughly the same number of hours I work now (I billed 1,901 last year and am behind pace this year [department has been slow], but I am willing to do a little more. I'd like to do under 2,100, but I realize that this may not be realistic.)
- Pay the same as what I make now (I earn a Cravath salary and a market bonus at 1,900 hours, which I realize is not common, even among mega firms. I am willing to budge somewhat. Any place that pays more is a red flag regarding excessive hours [i.e. MTO].)
- Opportunity for general litigation (No labor and employment only positions, for example)
- Less or no "white collar" work. This is boring and not really "litigation" but rather professional document review with few legal issues.

I am working with a recruiter, and she has alerted me to the following openings:
- MoFo
- White & Case
- McGuire Woods
- McDermott Will
- Venable
- Glaser Weil
- Katten

The first two seem too similar to my existing firm. McGuire Woods seems like it pays too little. McDermott Will I don't know. I interviewed at Venable last week and really liked it. The bonuses (and maybe the salary) are less than what I make now, but they are serious about letting people do as much as they can handle and, if you do well, promoting after a few years. Glaser Weil seems like more work for less pay, although I am told salaries are individually negotiated and not lock-step, so maybe I could go way up if they like me. Less pay may be worth it to get substantial experience at a serious litigation firm. Katten seems good, but they don't pay market bonuses until 2,100 hours or so (maybe worth accepting).

I had another recruiter send my stuff to Hueston Hennigan, but they would consider me for Orange County, and I'm not interested in that. I am waiting to hear back from Bird Marella, will ask the recruiter to send to Greenberg Gross, a litigation boutique downtown. I will try Susman Godfrey, but I don't think I have the academic credentials.

Do you have any other suggestions based on my criteria above? All help is appreciated.

FascinatedWanderer

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:59 am

Susman Godfrey requires a federal clerkship so that's a definite no go at this stage. Why not just try to clerk? If your T20 was UCLA/USC you'd have decent chances to clerk in CDCA.

surrealfx

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby surrealfx » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:03 am

I tried clerking, and although it would be interesting, I'm not willing to wait until 2019 to start. Most 2018-19 clerkships are full. Also, it seems like sort of a stopgap. In some ways, I'd prefer to just get a new job that will be longer-term than a clerkship.

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:46 am

Faegre Baker Daniels opened a small office on the west side.

RaceJudicata

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby RaceJudicata » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:56 am

Didn’t read whole post, but butt-hurt much about not cracking top 10%?

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84651846190

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby 84651846190 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:50 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:Didn’t read whole post, but butt-hurt much about not cracking top 10%?


Seems unnecessary to post this

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beepboopbeep

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby beepboopbeep » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:36 pm

You are looking for a unicorn

There'll be some small shops that meet everything here, but then look at their website and their associates HYS top 10%. Also, you've spent two years in biglaw and not gotten substantive experience. This isn't atypical but, like, I've gotta imagine that makes a tough sell for any boutique that does well enough to pay cravath but also has the type of super tight staffing you're looking for - if you've never written dispositive motions or taken depos or had any stand-up arguments that's a steep learning curve and if I'm a hiring partner at one of these places I'd much rather grab the person who just graduated and is two years cheaper if I'm going to have to train both of you the same amount before you can own cases.

surrealfx wrote:- Pay the same as what I make now (I earn a Cravath salary and a market bonus at 1,900 hours, which I realize is not common, even among mega firms. I am willing to budge somewhat. Any place that pays more is a red flag regarding excessive hours [i.e. MTO].)


I have no idea what you're talking about re: MTO. It's market.

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beepboopbeep

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby beepboopbeep » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:39 pm

ExBiglawAssociate wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:Didn’t read whole post, but butt-hurt much about not cracking top 10%?


Seems unnecessary to post this


I mean it IS weird to describe yourself as top 11%. Also, this:

surrealfx wrote:I never clerked, but I did apply and interview in one case.

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84651846190

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby 84651846190 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:54 pm

beepboopbeep wrote:
ExBiglawAssociate wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:Didn’t read whole post, but butt-hurt much about not cracking top 10%?


Seems unnecessary to post this


I mean it IS weird to describe yourself as top 11%.


So what are you supposed to say?

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beepboopbeep

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby beepboopbeep » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:35 pm

ExBiglawAssociate wrote:
beepboopbeep wrote:
ExBiglawAssociate wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:Didn’t read whole post, but butt-hurt much about not cracking top 10%?


Seems unnecessary to post this


I mean it IS weird to describe yourself as top 11%.


So what are you supposed to say?


Top 15%? Top 20%? IMO you only get to say non-round numbers if you're like third in the class or something.
(i dunno if saying top 11% counts as "butt-hurt," but like come on it's a weird thing to do)

runinthefront

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby runinthefront » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:55 pm

I agree saying top 11% comes off as weird, but I think it was much weirder for RaceJudicata to take time out of her/his day to make a snide comment without even contributing anything of substance to OP's question (or even reading the OP's post in full).
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

FascinatedWanderer

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:05 pm

I guess OP's academic qualifications are tangentially relevant to this, but it's gotten way off track.

I think the main issue is that firms that really will give opportunities to younger associates are out of reach from a T20 with no clerkship. The standard biglaw firms aren't going to differ much. If I were OP I'd jump at the chance to take HH in Orange County. It's the only elite firm that's remotely within reach, the pay is ridiculous, and the work will be good.

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84651846190

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby 84651846190 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:23 pm

runinthefront wrote:I agree saying top 11% comes off as weird . . . .


Seems normal to be disappointed that you just barely missed out on Coif. Probably fucks you up mentally if you're focused on applying for jobs in our prestige-obsessed profession--makes you want to let everyone know that you just barely missed it.

RaceJudicata

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby RaceJudicata » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:16 pm

runinthefront wrote:I agree saying top 11% comes off as weird, but I think it was much weirder for RaceJudicata to take time out of her/his day to make a snide comment without even contributing anything of substance to OP's question (or even reading the OP's post in full).


Maybe butt hurt was wrong way to say it. But seems weird, imho, to describe oneself as top 11%.

As for substance: job Op is looking for probably doesn’t exist. OP wants the right pay, location, substantive work, and hours. Probably going to have to sacrifice on one or two of those things - determine what is most important and go from there.

JusticeJackson

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby JusticeJackson » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:18 pm

.
Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lolwat

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby lolwat » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:42 pm

I could leave this post at: Yeah, you aren't going to get everything you want. Good luck. But I guess I have a minute or two before I start working this morning.

You aren't going to be able to get substantive work experience (or staffing on a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio) without working a lot more hours than you're hoping to do. 2100 is probably doable in a good year--you're probably more looking at 2300-2400, with several 250-300 hour months during times when you have fire drills going on (best example is trial, but if you've got 6-7 depositions scheduled in a month you're probably going to pull a lot of 10-12 hour days that month prepping and taking those depos, too).

How the hell is MTO your example for places paying more than market (they don't) and being red flags for excessive hours (they aren't)? But on your list to apply is Hueston and Susman? Susman and Hueston pay above-market in bonuses and they'll also work you more than standard biglaw and many boutiques. Hueston will probably be like 2300-2400 hours and Susman will be more than that. They'll also be the most likely to give you the most substantive work experience.

Also, Hueston and Bird Marella are pretty big on white collar which I thought you weren't interested in. Greenberg Gross is a market-paying sweatshop with a very unique culture.

Your best bet to get what you really want--substantive legal experience--is to either (1) take a hit in compensation or (2) work more hours and get into a boutique firm doing high-end work. Of the firms you mentioned with openings, Glaser Weil might work, but I don't know enough about them other than that you'll probably want to work with Patty Glaser if you want the really good work. You may also try Scheper Kim & Harris (although they do a lot of white collar work), LTL Attorneys, Kendall Brill Kelly, and basically, other good 20-30 attorney litigation boutiques.

Jchance

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby Jchance » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:05 pm

lolwat wrote:Greenberg Gross is a market-paying sweatshop with a very unique culture.


Can you expand on this?

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:32 pm

Jchance wrote:
lolwat wrote:Greenberg Gross is a market-paying sweatshop with a very unique culture.


Can you expand on this?


+1, would like to hear more about this as well

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby Boutique_Associate » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:42 pm

lolwat wrote:I could leave this post at: Yeah, you aren't going to get everything you want. Good luck. But I guess I have a minute or two before I start working this morning.

You aren't going to be able to get substantive work experience (or staffing on a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio) without working a lot more hours than you're hoping to do. 2100 is probably doable in a good year--you're probably more looking at 2300-2400, with several 250-300 hour months during times when you have fire drills going on (best example is trial, but if you've got 6-7 depositions scheduled in a month you're probably going to pull a lot of 10-12 hour days that month prepping and taking those depos, too).

How the hell is MTO your example for places paying more than market (they don't) and being red flags for excessive hours (they aren't)? But on your list to apply is Hueston and Susman? Susman and Hueston pay above-market in bonuses and they'll also work you more than standard biglaw and many boutiques. Hueston will probably be like 2300-2400 hours and Susman will be more than that. They'll also be the most likely to give you the most substantive work experience.

Also, Hueston and Bird Marella are pretty big on white collar which I thought you weren't interested in. Greenberg Gross is a market-paying sweatshop with a very unique culture.

Your best bet to get what you really want--substantive legal experience--is to either (1) take a hit in compensation or (2) work more hours and get into a boutique firm doing high-end work. Of the firms you mentioned with openings, Glaser Weil might work, but I don't know enough about them other than that you'll probably want to work with Patty Glaser if you want the really good work. You may also try Scheper Kim & Harris (although they do a lot of white collar work), LTL Attorneys, Kendall Brill Kelly, and basically, other good 20-30 attorney litigation boutiques.


This is really spot-on.

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby bruinfan10 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:50 pm

Boutique_Associate wrote:
lolwat wrote:I could leave this post at: Yeah, you aren't going to get everything you want. Good luck. But I guess I have a minute or two before I start working this morning.

You aren't going to be able to get substantive work experience (or staffing on a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio) without working a lot more hours than you're hoping to do. 2100 is probably doable in a good year--you're probably more looking at 2300-2400, with several 250-300 hour months during times when you have fire drills going on (best example is trial, but if you've got 6-7 depositions scheduled in a month you're probably going to pull a lot of 10-12 hour days that month prepping and taking those depos, too).

How the hell is MTO your example for places paying more than market (they don't) and being red flags for excessive hours (they aren't)? But on your list to apply is Hueston and Susman? Susman and Hueston pay above-market in bonuses and they'll also work you more than standard biglaw and many boutiques. Hueston will probably be like 2300-2400 hours and Susman will be more than that. They'll also be the most likely to give you the most substantive work experience.

Also, Hueston and Bird Marella are pretty big on white collar which I thought you weren't interested in. Greenberg Gross is a market-paying sweatshop with a very unique culture.

Your best bet to get what you really want--substantive legal experience--is to either (1) take a hit in compensation or (2) work more hours and get into a boutique firm doing high-end work. Of the firms you mentioned with openings, Glaser Weil might work, but I don't know enough about them other than that you'll probably want to work with Patty Glaser if you want the really good work. You may also try Scheper Kim & Harris (although they do a lot of white collar work), LTL Attorneys, Kendall Brill Kelly, and basically, other good 20-30 attorney litigation boutiques.


This is really spot-on.

+1

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby lolwat » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Jchance wrote:
lolwat wrote:Greenberg Gross is a market-paying sweatshop with a very unique culture.


Can you expand on this?


+1, would like to hear more about this as well


I'm not deliberately ignoring these posts, but I don't really want to dump on a decent firm. I'm hearing their associates are working near-Susman hours (without the above-market Susman bonus), there's a very booze and party heavy culture there, and some screamers/yellers. High turnover for associates--I'm not totally sure if any of their early associates from 2013-2014 are still there.

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Re: L.A. litigation firms for a lateral move

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:03 pm

I know of at least one very happy associate at Greenberg Gross. Associates can get a lot of substantive experience early on, and the hours requirement for the full market bonus is 2,000. The firm also matches 401k up to 4%, so the comp is really up there. The only truth to the "booze" thing is that they have a weekly happy hour at 4:30pm that you choose to attend (or not attend), meaning there's no expectation to be working in the office past that time unless you've got a deadline.

Not exactly a "sweatshop." :D



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