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.