Making the Move from Government Prosecutor to Top Boutique Law Firm |

Making the Move from Government Prosecutor to Top Boutique Law Firm


Print/Download PDF

Font Size


 from  Office 

Rate this Case Study

6 Reviews Average: 3.1 out of 5

Boutique firms love candidates with hands on litigation experience. Small firms often take cases to trial, as opposed to big law firms that aim to settle cases they are defending for large clients. Boutiques are a great option for attorneys who want real courtroom experience early in their career. Many provide hands on experience, allowing their associates to do as much trial work as they want and forgoing mock exercises that some larger firms use as a substitute for real experience. Many also provide a collegial work environment and market pay. They are should not be overlooked in a job search.
Making the Move from Government Prosecutor to Top Boutique Law Firm

Trial boutiques look for candidates who have a genuine passion for litigation. They want associates who show a commitment to litigation starting in law school. Great candidates graduated near the top of their class from a top law school, participated in activities that strengthen trial advocacy skills (including moot court, mock trial, student attorney clinics), and served as an editor for law review or a journal. Firms especially love candidates with federal court clerkships, as they provide valuable research and writing experience.

This candidate had a unique background for a mid-level litigator. After clerking for a federal district judge for two years, he joined a top regional firm, then went to the local U.S. Attorney's Office at the suggestion of his judge. Most Assistant U.S. Attorneys become career government attorneys once they join the U.S. Attorney's Office. It can be difficult for AUSAs to transition back to private practice, especially if they have spent many years with the government. Although these jobs provide valuable courtroom experience, it can be difficult go get back to a firm once you leave that path.
In this instance, the candidate had only been with the U.S. Attorney's Office for a couple of years. It was a small office, so he gained a great deal of experience in that time, working on more than 40 litigation cases at once. His responsibilities included interviewing witnesses, preparing discovery, arguing motions at hearings, and handling settlement negotiations, trials, and appeals. He worked on a variety of cases, including employment discrimination, defensive torts, defensive environmental claims, healthcare fraud actions, and prisoner litigation. An outstanding litigator, he received certificates of appreciation for devising innovative strategies in negotiating settlements at well below expected value. Needless to say, he was a super strong candidate.
This candidate also had outstanding credentials and strong ties to the region. He went to a Top 10 law school, where he won awards for legal research and writing and moot court competition. He had family in the city where the boutique was located and had already committed to taking the bar there.
Finally, this candidate was a great fit for the litigation boutique. This boutique has a strong white collar defense practice with several former AUSAs. Former government prosecutors are a great fit for white collar work because they understand criminal prosecution and the way the federal justice system works. This candidate really hit it off with the head of the practice group and even met with him for coffee one weekend. The firm was a perfect fit for this candidate.
A couple of take-a ways from this case study: 1) Don't underestimate litigation boutiques in your job search. They are a great way to get hands on ligation experience. 2) Take every opportunity to enhance your trial advocacy skills, both in law school and after graduation. 3) Federal prosecutors can make the transition back to law firms, if they get great experience and do not stay with the government too long.
This search demonstrates that superstar litigators can land jobs with top litigation boutiques if they are committed to getting great trial experience.

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog,, and, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit
Download the BCG Attorney Search App for the Latest Articles

AGREE/DISAGREE? SHARE COMMENTS ANONYMOUSLY! We Want to Hear Your Thoughts! Tell Us What You Think!!

More Case Studies

View All
We've changed thousands of lives over the past 20 years, and yours could be next.

When you use BCG Attorney Search you will get an unfair advantage because you will use the best legal placement company in the world for finding permanent law firm positions.