"I'm a 2L struck out at OCI. I've got a summer offer with in-house legal department that does the kind of work that, If you'd asked me when I started law school, I would've told you that I'd like to be doing after being in private practice for a time. I've also received a paying offer for a PI group that is pretty prestigious in the same general space as the corporate group. But more policy litigation-focused, my dream practice, and that's something I think I'd have a shot at getting given my pedigree. Neither of these organizations is necessarily going to lead to a long-term position (though it seems to be about whether a relevant position opens up at the right time). Both are, of course, very different experiences. I guess I'm asking whether you think one or the other is better in the long-term play. If were a 1L summer, I wouldn't hesitate to take the latter role because I'm so spooked by striking out at OCI. I don't trust my judgment at all."
You didn't strike out at OCI, but the thing I would tell people with OCI is you can certainly interview with firms through your school, but you should also be looking for positions in other firms that don't come to your school. I went to a pretty prestigious school at the University of Virginia, and there were hardly any firms from Chicago that came there, and there were none from Detroit, which is where I'm from. There were hardly any from California back then. You should be looking for jobs many times in other ways than OCI.
What I would recommend from you is making the decision to do PI as a long-term career decision. If it's a prestigious firm, then that's great, but PI can be all over the map. So what that means is it could be a PI firm that does very high-end PI, or a PI firm that does low-end PI. It could be a PI firm that does very complex work, or PI firm that doesn't do complex work. And PI's a lot different than general commercial litigation.
With general litigation, you have to come up with all sorts of theories to defend things, and with PI you have the injury, and so you're almost always going to get a trial and get to court. Whereas if you have a contract claim and so forth, it can be very difficult to get to court, and so they need very smart attorneys that argue on both sides and so forth. PI's a little bit different.
In terms of in-house, you're talking about the firm does the kinda work that you'd like to be doing after being in private practice. That sounds ideal. It sounds to me like you were able to sell yourself on that. If you go down PI, the problem with PI is that the work from a litigation standpoint isn't that complex. The reason it's not that complex is because you have the injury. The injury exists, and so it's much different than trying to prove a contract claim or something along those lines. More people can argue and that sort of thing.
The other problem with PI is that PI attorneys make money when they get settlements or when they get a verdict. Because of that, the salaries tend to be much lower, so it's a general rule. Because people basically make money and spend it. And then, because the work isn't as complex, the quality of the attorneys does not need to be extremely high in terms of smarts, is the way to put it. Not street smarts, but smarts because getting to trial and so forth is not as hard.
When you're in PI, it becomes a lot more about your personality, ability to move juries, ability to settle cases, all those sorts of things, and connect with clients. It's just a different type of skill, and there are certain people that are very good at it, but you certainly do not need to do well in law school or go to a good law school to do most forms of PI. Now, there are some very sophisticated forms, like " Mesothelioma." That's fairly sophisticated and there can be a lot of money involved, but for the most part, that's the big problem with PI.
If you go into PI you should be pretty convinced that's what you want to do as a career, and you can do extremely well if you start your own practice or if you learn how to do it and you get good at it. But it's definitely its own career path, and most PI attorneys do not ever go into in-house later on, so if you have an in-house opening in a practice area that you like, then that actually might be a good thing compared to doing PI. If it was me, I probably would choose PI just because I think it'd be fun to learn about, but PIs a perfect example of a practice where you're opening your own business.