Legal research whole summer?

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Legal research whole summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:54 am

I am a summer at a biglaw, litigation. The whole summer I have been doing legal research and writing memos. Is this normal?

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:00 pm

Yes. What else did you expect to be doing?

Ask if there are any shadowing opportunities available. You may get to go watch a trial.

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Flarmanarnar » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:01 pm

I don’t think I understand your question. If your question is: “Do biglaw lit people do primarily legal research and write memos?” I would say yes - but as full-time associate you’ll probably be able to help out on more things like mediation sessions and pre-trial conference reports so you will be able to get out of the office. If, however, your question is: “Is this a normal workload/type of work for a summer associate in biglaw lit?” I would also say yes - not really sure what else you would be doing in lit to be honest. You might shadow people if there’s a big case but there’s really not much more to do in lit beyond research, discovery battles, and writing a lot of memos.
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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I don’t think I understand your question. If your question is: “Do biglaw lit people do primarily legal research and write memos?” I would say yes - but as full-time associate you’ll probably be able to help out on more things like mediation sessions and pre-trial conference reports so you will be able to get out of the office. If, however, your question is: “Is this a normal workload/type of work for a summer associate in biglaw lit?” I would also say yes - not really sure what else you would be doing in lit to be honest. You might shadow people if there’s a big case but there’s really not much more to do in lit beyond research, discovery battles, and writing a lot of memos.


Thanks for the detailed answer. I guess I had the wrong impression when I dreamed about litigation. Now I completely have no interest in litigation

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:07 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:Yes. What else did you expect to be doing?

Ask if there are any shadowing opportunities available. You may get to go watch a trial.


Maybe writing motions?

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby gregfootball2001 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don’t think I understand your question. If your question is: “Do biglaw lit people do primarily legal research and write memos?” I would say yes - but as full-time associate you’ll probably be able to help out on more things like mediation sessions and pre-trial conference reports so you will be able to get out of the office. If, however, your question is: “Is this a normal workload/type of work for a summer associate in biglaw lit?” I would also say yes - not really sure what else you would be doing in lit to be honest. You might shadow people if there’s a big case but there’s really not much more to do in lit beyond research, discovery battles, and writing a lot of memos.


Thanks for the detailed answer. I guess I had the wrong impression when I dreamed about litigation. Now I completely have no interest in litigation

Out of curiosity, what did you think the job would entail?

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don’t think I understand your question. If your question is: “Do biglaw lit people do primarily legal research and write memos?” I would say yes - but as full-time associate you’ll probably be able to help out on more things like mediation sessions and pre-trial conference reports so you will be able to get out of the office. If, however, your question is: “Is this a normal workload/type of work for a summer associate in biglaw lit?” I would also say yes - not really sure what else you would be doing in lit to be honest. You might shadow people if there’s a big case but there’s really not much more to do in lit beyond research, discovery battles, and writing a lot of memos.


Thanks for the detailed answer. I guess I had the wrong impression when I dreamed about litigation. Now I completely have no interest in litigation


Sorry, I also must have read your question really fast haha - you will be able to write motions obviously but the point is that if you don’t like writing memos and doing legal research, you certainly won’t like writing motions. I’m currently an SA at a lit boutique so I’ve been basically given free reign to take over cases and have done: legal research, memos, motions, shadowed in court/mediations, etc. - I can say that, as far as my experience has been, there really isn’t much difference between doing the work for an internal memo for a partner and writing motions because it requires basically the same work and, in the end, sometimes they just copy and paste most of the work you did in a memo for a motion. I would say that if you don’t like what you’re currently doing, you probably won’t like lit. That being said, maybe you’re just not getting the types of lit cases that interest you?

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:17 pm

gregfootball2001 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don’t think I understand your question. If your question is: “Do biglaw lit people do primarily legal research and write memos?” I would say yes - but as full-time associate you’ll probably be able to help out on more things like mediation sessions and pre-trial conference reports so you will be able to get out of the office. If, however, your question is: “Is this a normal workload/type of work for a summer associate in biglaw lit?” I would also say yes - not really sure what else you would be doing in lit to be honest. You might shadow people if there’s a big case but there’s really not much more to do in lit beyond research, discovery battles, and writing a lot of memos.


Thanks for the detailed answer. I guess I had the wrong impression when I dreamed about litigation. Now I completely have no interest in litigation

Out of curiosity, what did you think the job would entail?


I thought it would be writing motions, shadowing depositions, etc. Just not legal research piecemeal legal issues without knowing all the facts. I guess I was wrong.

dabigchina

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby dabigchina » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:19 pm

Not a litigator, but I think a big part of your job as a junior will be discovery. My understanding is (at least at my firm) we don't give that to the SA's because it's considered unsexy, whereas the research/memo writing is considered sexy work. Also, it's way easier to carve out/make up some research memo that ultimately won't matter.

But yeah, if you don't like writing memos and doing research, maybe try something else.

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don’t think I understand your question. If your question is: “Do biglaw lit people do primarily legal research and write memos?” I would say yes - but as full-time associate you’ll probably be able to help out on more things like mediation sessions and pre-trial conference reports so you will be able to get out of the office. If, however, your question is: “Is this a normal workload/type of work for a summer associate in biglaw lit?” I would also say yes - not really sure what else you would be doing in lit to be honest. You might shadow people if there’s a big case but there’s really not much more to do in lit beyond research, discovery battles, and writing a lot of memos.


Thanks for the detailed answer. I guess I had the wrong impression when I dreamed about litigation. Now I completely have no interest in litigation


Sorry, I also must have read your question really fast haha - you will be able to write motions obviously but the point is that if you don’t like writing memos and doing legal research, you certainly won’t like writing motions. I’m currently an SA at a lit boutique so I’ve been basically given free reign to take over cases and have done: legal research, memos, motions, shadowed in court/mediations, etc. - I can say that, as far as my experience has been, there really isn’t much difference between doing the work for an internal memo for a partner and writing motions because it requires basically the same work and, in the end, sometimes they just copy and paste most of the work you did in a memo for a motion. I would say that if you don’t like what you’re currently doing, you probably won’t like lit. That being said, maybe you’re just not getting the types of lit cases that interest you?


That’s a good point. I’m not really interested in the case itself. But I figure that if I’m choosing litigation as my legal career path, I need to take a case regardless whether I like it or not. I just feel legal research is sooo boring

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby QContinuum » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I thought it would be writing motions, shadowing depositions, etc. Just not legal research piecemeal legal issues without knowing all the facts. I guess I was wrong.

As a summer you should be able to sit in on a deposition or two, and certainly as a full-time associate you would get to do so. But the lion's share of the work involves legal research. That's how juniors add value. Sitting in on depositions does not add value.

BigLaw work generally - especially at the junior levels - is not sexy. That's why you have top T13 grads fighting tooth and nail for low-paying impact PI jobs. Of course, even impact lit involves plenty of legal research, but it tends to be on sexy con law issues.

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I don’t think I understand your question. If your question is: “Do biglaw lit people do primarily legal research and write memos?” I would say yes - but as full-time associate you’ll probably be able to help out on more things like mediation sessions and pre-trial conference reports so you will be able to get out of the office. If, however, your question is: “Is this a normal workload/type of work for a summer associate in biglaw lit?” I would also say yes - not really sure what else you would be doing in lit to be honest. You might shadow people if there’s a big case but there’s really not much more to do in lit beyond research, discovery battles, and writing a lot of memos.


Thanks for the detailed answer. I guess I had the wrong impression when I dreamed about litigation. Now I completely have no interest in litigation


Sorry, I also must have read your question really fast haha - you will be able to write motions obviously but the point is that if you don’t like writing memos and doing legal research, you certainly won’t like writing motions. I’m currently an SA at a lit boutique so I’ve been basically given free reign to take over cases and have done: legal research, memos, motions, shadowed in court/mediations, etc. - I can say that, as far as my experience has been, there really isn’t much difference between doing the work for an internal memo for a partner and writing motions because it requires basically the same work and, in the end, sometimes they just copy and paste most of the work you did in a memo for a motion. I would say that if you don’t like what you’re currently doing, you probably won’t like lit. That being said, maybe you’re just not getting the types of lit cases that interest you?


That’s a good point. I’m not really interested in the case itself. But I figure that if I’m choosing litigation as my legal career path, I need to take a case regardless whether I like it or not. I just feel legal research is sooo boring


Yeah, if you hate legal research then lit might not be the best option for you honestly. I constantly have to do legal research on brand new issues I’ve never seen before or learned in law school and be able to draft MSJ’s on it - that’s just the nature of the work. If you don’t like legal research, I would suggest finding other work to branch out in.

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yodamiked

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby yodamiked » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:44 pm

If you hate legal research, there's almost none in capital markets, m&a, or the other primary transactional practices. That being said, litigators seem to have more "fun" than we do...although maybe that's just the grass is always greener issue.

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:41 pm

Biglaw litigator here. You will be writing and researching in one form of another for basically your entire biglaw career. Whether it's a motion, memo, or something else, that's a significant portion of the job. If you don't like that (and don't like discovery, which I assume you don't) then lit isn't for you

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Nagster5

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Nagster5 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:51 pm

I had the same experience. My summer as a biglaw litigation SA convinced me to do corporate work. If you can, maybe try to do some transactional work and see if you like it better.

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:38 pm

Nagster5 wrote:I had the same experience. My summer as a biglaw litigation SA convinced me to do corporate work. If you can, maybe try to do some transactional work and see if you like it better.


I tried to ask for transactional work, but no positive feedback. One partner who does transactional work said to me that transactional work is too hard for a summer...

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby yodamiked » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Nagster5 wrote:I had the same experience. My summer as a biglaw litigation SA convinced me to do corporate work. If you can, maybe try to do some transactional work and see if you like it better.


I tried to ask for transactional work, but no positive feedback. One partner who does transactional work said to me that transactional work is too hard for a summer...


I'm guessing your firm must have a VERY small transactional practice, if that is the response you got. Not to jump the gun, but if transactional work is what you want, may be worthwhile looking at firms with larger transactional practices. The NY biglaw firms have well over a hundred summers each, at least half of which are all working on transactional projects.

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:02 pm

yodamiked wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Nagster5 wrote:I had the same experience. My summer as a biglaw litigation SA convinced me to do corporate work. If you can, maybe try to do some transactional work and see if you like it better.


I tried to ask for transactional work, but no positive feedback. One partner who does transactional work said to me that transactional work is too hard for a summer...


I'm guessing your firm must have a VERY small transactional practice, if that is the response you got. Not to jump the gun, but if transactional work is what you want, may be worthwhile looking at firms with larger transactional practices. The NY biglaw firms have well over a hundred summers each, at least half of which are all working on transactional projects.


In fact, they have a big transactional group. But the transactional group is very hesitant to give work to a summer in the litigation group. I don’t know how other law firm operates, but I feel my firm does not give much flexibility to a SA to switch practice area...

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Nagster5 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
yodamiked wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Nagster5 wrote:I had the same experience. My summer as a biglaw litigation SA convinced me to do corporate work. If you can, maybe try to do some transactional work and see if you like it better.


I tried to ask for transactional work, but no positive feedback. One partner who does transactional work said to me that transactional work is too hard for a summer...


I'm guessing your firm must have a VERY small transactional practice, if that is the response you got. Not to jump the gun, but if transactional work is what you want, may be worthwhile looking at firms with larger transactional practices. The NY biglaw firms have well over a hundred summers each, at least half of which are all working on transactional projects.


In fact, they have a big transactional group. But the transactional group is very hesitant to give work to a summer in the litigation group. I don’t know how other law firm operates, but I feel my firm does not give much flexibility to a SA to switch practice area...


There's no rotation over the summer? They lock you into transactional or lit before you even show up? That's very unusual. And if transactional work is too hard for a summer, what do they have all the transactional summers doing?

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Windjammer » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
gregfootball2001 wrote:Out of curiosity, what did you think the job would entail?


I thought it would be writing motions, shadowing depositions, etc. Just not legal research piecemeal legal issues without knowing all the facts. I guess I was wrong.


I wouldn't give up on lit yet if I were you. What you so strongly dislike is an artificiality of the SA environment that dissipates once you embark on post-SA lit work. The partners hate that artificiality as much as you do. Aka "disembodied legal research":

https://abovethelaw.com/2019/01/why-sum ... ut-a-firm/
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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby ClubberLang » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:53 pm

Your experience is typical for a summer because it is hard to find good assignments for summers. Despite what others here have said, in no way will the lions share of your work as an associate be legal research and/or memo writing. Yeah, it generally sucks, but you won't be spending much time looking for cases that don't exist or writing memos that nobody reads because nobody pays for that.

I think your question is fair, and frankly hate that firms do this with summers. I suggest getting close with a second or third year to get a sense of what Junior associate life is really like.

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby Halp » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:21 am

ClubberLang wrote: Despite what others here have said, in no way will the lions share of your work as an associate be legal research and/or memo writing. Yeah, it generally sucks, but you won't be spending much time looking for cases that don't exist or writing memos that nobody reads because nobody pays for that.


I’m sorry, but this is egregiously wrong. Have you been a lit associate? Because I have, and that’s exactly what the job entails (at least until you’re a mid level). People read my memos, and MOST of the time the cases exist, but legal research, memo writing, brief writing (if you’re good), and discovery (depending on firm/practice group) is the vast bulk of what a ligation associate does, particularly early on.

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby ClubberLang » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:03 pm

Halp wrote:
ClubberLang wrote: Despite what others here have said, in no way will the lions share of your work as an associate be legal research and/or memo writing. Yeah, it generally sucks, but you won't be spending much time looking for cases that don't exist or writing memos that nobody reads because nobody pays for that.


I’m sorry, but this is egregiously wrong. Have you been a lit associate? Because I have, and that’s exactly what the job entails (at least until you’re a mid level). People read my memos, and MOST of the time the cases exist, but legal research, memo writing, brief writing (if you’re good), and discovery (depending on firm/practice group) is the vast bulk of what a ligation associate does, particularly early on.


Yep, for some time now. Never written a memo (which I understand to be a synopsis of legal research). I agree that brief writing and discovery is the majority of what a litigation associate does, but that's not what OP said he was doing. Legal research is a small piece of what a lit associate does. The type of research assignments given to summers are generally related to crazy ideas that people have kicked around and have already looked into. What type of memos do you write? How long have you been a litigation associate?

Anyway, someone in the thread linked to an above the law post, and its exactly right about this.

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby nixy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:37 pm

I’m a litigator (not in biglaw) and I do legal research all the time (I also much prefer it to, say, wrangling with opposing counsel, especially over discovery). Not sure how you could write briefs/motions without it, unless it’s a really boilerplate issue, which is its own kind of boredom.

I’ll grant that getting assigned some (often artificially) discrete topic for a case you don’t really know the facts about is less interesting, and more likely for a SA.

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Re: Legal research whole summer?

Postby hoosier41 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:39 pm

ClubberLang wrote:
Halp wrote:
ClubberLang wrote: Despite what others here have said, in no way will the lions share of your work as an associate be legal research and/or memo writing. Yeah, it generally sucks, but you won't be spending much time looking for cases that don't exist or writing memos that nobody reads because nobody pays for that.


I’m sorry, but this is egregiously wrong. Have you been a lit associate? Because I have, and that’s exactly what the job entails (at least until you’re a mid level). People read my memos, and MOST of the time the cases exist, but legal research, memo writing, brief writing (if you’re good), and discovery (depending on firm/practice group) is the vast bulk of what a ligation associate does, particularly early on.


Yep, for some time now. Never written a memo (which I understand to be a synopsis of legal research). I agree that brief writing and discovery is the majority of what a litigation associate does, but that's not what OP said he was doing. Legal research is a small piece of what a lit associate does. The type of research assignments given to summers are generally related to crazy ideas that people have kicked around and have already looked into. What type of memos do you write? How long have you been a litigation associate?

Anyway, someone in the thread linked to an above the law post, and its exactly right about this.


You're a lit associate and have never written a memo? Are you a lit associate in biglaw? I'm just having a hard time understanding how any biglaw associate could avoid ever writing a legal memo for a more senior associate or partner. Also unclear as to how one would go about writing briefs without doing significant legal research.



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