Senior Attorney Makes Move from Big Law to Top Litigation Boutique |

Senior Attorney Makes Move from Big Law to Top Litigation Boutique


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Litigation boutiques are a great career move for attorneys who want meaningful trial experience. Many boutiques try cases on a regular basis, giving associates a chance to go to court early in their career. Associates rarely get these opportunities in large Am Law firms. Big law firms often defend clients whose goal is to avoid trial and settle cases. These clients pay a large premium for big law representation, and typically only want the engagement partner to represent them in court. As a result, senior associates get little to no courtroom experience at large law firms. This experience is plentiful at litigation boutiques, making them a fantastic option for associates who want real trial work.
Senior Attorney Makes Move from Big Law to Top Litigation Boutique

The hiring process for boutiques is extremely competitive. Boutiques only hire the very best candidates. They look for associates with a commitment to litigation starting in law school. Strong 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 an absolutely stellar background for a senior litigator. He graduated near the top of his class from a regional law school. During law school he excelled in his studies while participating in law review and other student activities. He then joined one of the top law firms in the country, where he practiced his entire career.
This candidate's law firm experience included working with Fortune 500 clients in a variety of complex legal disputes, including antitrust, intellectual property, consumer protection, breach of contract/fiduciary duty, securities fraud, class action, RICO, and other commercial disputes arising in tort and/or contract. He was the lead senior associate in several complex cases, with responsibility for developing and executing case strategies and tactics, managing legal teams, and arguing dispositive and procedural motions. He also served on several trial teams in complex litigation.
Unfortunately, this candidate had very little courtroom experience. As a tenth-year associate, he had yet to first or second chair a trial. His courtroom experience was limited to arguing motions in court and assisting partners with drafting opening statements, preparing expert witnesses, and developing cross-examination strategy.
This candidate wanted more meaningful trial experience, so he started a search with BCG. We were able to highlight this candidate's amazing attributes that made him an attractive candidate for litigation boutiques.
First, this candidate had phenomenal law school credentials and training from an outstanding law firm. It is hard for firms to find candidates who graduated near the top of their class and worked for a top tier law firm. Candidates who excel in law school tend to be hard workers who continue to work hard for their firms. For many firms, law school grades continue to matter long after graduation. They are a strong measure of work ethic and legal intelligence. Great grades should always be highlighted when applying to a law firm.
Second, this candidate was a loyal employee who stayed with his firm for almost ten years before looking for another position. Firms value loyalty in their attorneys. They invest a lot of time and money recruiting and training candidates. Working for a law firm is difficult, and firms want to ensure that their associates will not leave shortly after joining the firm. Candidates who move firms a lot look wishy washy or uncommitted to the practice of law. Thus, the most attractive candidates are those who are employed and have been with their current firm for a long time. The fewer moves the better. In this case, the candidate had been with his firm his entire career. This showed dedication to his job and loyalty to his employer, making him a safe candidate for a lateral hire.
Finally, this candidate had a compelling reason to look for another job. He strongly desired more hands-on litigation experience, which he could not get at his previous firm. He had a great foundation for becoming a great litigator, both from law school and his time in the firm. He also had strong connections to the city where the firm was located. And the boutique had a need for an experienced litigation associate who could lead trial teams of more junior litigators.
A few of take-aways 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) Senior litigators make great candidates for litigation boutiques, especially if they have shown loyalty to their past law firms.
This search demonstrates that experienced litigators can land jobs with top litigation boutiques if they have extraordinary credentials and 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
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