04.14 - 21 Reasons You Will Never Get a Job With a Major Law Firm
[00:00:00] Today I'm going to talk about this is actually in my opinion for people that want to work in large law firms probably maybe one of the most important presentations you ever hear, because there's lots of rules that go along with working in large law firms and in things that you need to do.
[00:00:14] And just because you're not starting out in a large law firm or didn't work as a summer associate, it doesn't mean you can't work in one, but there are certain things that you you're going to need to do in your career if you want to be in a large law firm because large law firms are very selective and there's lots of people that want to work there.
[00:00:32] So they have all sorts of ways to disqualify people from working there. And and so it's important that you understand those reasons and ways they disqualify people. If you want to be kind of part of that crew. And so I'm going to give this presentation, and then after the presentation, I'll take as many questions as people have.
[00:00:52]Typically the questions are longer than the presentation itself. So any questions you have about your career, the presentation I'm more [00:01:00] than happy to answer in this presentation and at the outset, I want to know if that necessarily a fan of everyone working in the largest law firms, because.
[00:01:09]I think a lot of times people have much better careers working in smaller law firms, but at the same time there are a lot of reasons to work in large law firms. And and what I'm talking about today really is just the mistakes that people make that disqualify them from working in large law firms.
[00:01:25] And and then hopefully you'll understand some of the ways that you can fix those. And and if you have those flaws in your background or that you can make up for them and just because you may have one flaw or two flaws or three flaws doesn't mean that you'll never work in a large law firm, it just means that it may be it's going to make it a little bit difficult.
[00:01:46] And in our placement firm, we actually used to make the majority of our placements in large law firms. And now I would say that we make just as many, if not more placements in smaller to midsize firms in large law firms, just because it's a much larger market. [00:02:00] It doesn't matter really, I, in my opinion what size law firm you work at as long as you're gonna be happy and doing what you're doing.
[00:02:06] And people can have very good careers inside of large law firms. And some of them are very suited. Some people are very suited to that and others have much better careers and smaller law firms, even the people with the best qualifications. But I do want to talk a little bit about some of the reasons that you should maybe consider working in a large law firm because most of what people here out in the market are negative things about large law firms.
[00:02:29] And there, there really are many positive things about large law firms as well, and also very good reasons that people should consider for them. And and these are some of the things right now. The first is that it's very prestigious work in a large law firms. So when you're coming from a large law firm it, it does carry a certain weight and the legal community carries weight among other attorneys.
[00:02:49] It carries weight among clients and it's just considered more prestigious. You're typically also often doing work for larger clients and the work is more sophisticated. When [00:03:00] large clients have sophisticated problems, they typically will go to larger firms and not smaller firms.
[00:03:05]And the other thing is that the clients typically the larger law firms are much better about paying their bills than they are smaller law firms. They don't want to upset the large law firm. They they they're they typically have a lot more money coming into them, large law firms.
[00:03:20]Some of them generate, four or $5 billion a year. Now in these large law firms the salaries tend to be much higher in the larger law firms. As a general rule larger law firms are more stable because they rely on lots of large clients that are very successful. The training typically is much better there's training systems.
[00:03:37] And and as the firms grow, they become much more organized in terms of how people are trained and evaluated. There's usually better lateral career opportunities, so you can move to better firms, or you can move in house a little bit more easily. When you do become an attorney, you can when you do become someone that wants to generate business, you can attract better clients.
[00:03:56]Meaning that better clients will typically want to work with. [00:04:00] Larger firms as opposed to a smaller firms. Most of the attorneys you'll be working with will have better credentials. They typically have much better. They can, they have their pick of the people that they choose, they can work there.
[00:04:11] So though the people you work with are better and their skills and so forth, rub off on you and you become a better attorney. Their offices are usually much nicer but she, isn't a reason to certainly pick a firm, but they're typically in the nicest parts of town and and that sort of thing.
[00:04:25] And then they typically have a much better support. So the secretaries, paralegals and so forth are much better. You're going to have a different career trajectory in a lot of it respects if you're working in a large law firm as opposed to a small one and or are you going to midsize fund?
[00:04:38]And that's one of the reasons that people want to work in the largest law firms and and because of those advantages and and they are a significant advantage to us. And there's also drawbacks. Everybody talks about the drawbacks, but those are the real benefits. And most of the people that are talking about the drawbacks are people that, can't make it in those environments or couldn't get into those compartments.
[00:04:58]There's just a lot to [00:05:00] be said. So what I'm going to talk about today are just some of the things that will disqualify you from many times marketing those types of firms. They're just important to understand because that's what you want to do with your career. And it is important that you understand these reasons.
[00:05:14] Okay. So one of the first ones is just, the law school, which I think everyone knows and you can work in most law schools that you go to, you can work in a large law firm. I know people that have gone to law schools in California they're under-credited and it actually got into trouble U S law firms.
[00:05:29] But for the most part your law school, the better the law school, you go to, the easier it is to get into a really good firm. Or if you don't go to a great law school the better you do in that law school the better off you'll be. And there's some law schools that will the law firms that will hire you if you have a rare skill.
[00:05:45]It's very common, for example, for patent attorneys not to go to good law schools or and then get into a major law firm later on. But if you go to a very low ranked law school you typically need to be one of the first in your very top of your class, if you want to work in a major firm.
[00:05:59] And then [00:06:00] and then major national firms, you typically need to be at a national law school. And then mid-level schools in our strong regional schools to get into major national firms, five, 10% of your class, most firms in different cities. Like New York law school is a good law school, but it's a local law school pace law school.
[00:06:18] It's a good law school, but it's a local New York boss school, big New York law firms will take people out of those. Those schools just like in California law firms will take people out of Santa Clara and other firms that may not be as for schools that may not be as highly ranked, but to go to to locate from, relocate from pace law school to the West coast to a big firm is going to be more difficult.
[00:06:38]In Detroit, there's all sorts of schools like, Wayne state and stuff where you can work at the best law firms in Detroit, if you go to them, but it becomes much harder to relocate to a firm in New York and so far. So even if you go to a local law school, you usually can, if you do really well, there usually can work in the best local law firms.
[00:06:55] Cause they always pull people out of the top local law or the local law schools. It doesn't [00:07:00] really matter, for the per national firms and national offices and so forth in big cities that are in firms, maybe outside of your home city, you typically need to do, very well at a local law school in order to get into large law firms or go to a large national law firm.
[00:07:16]And and then it's also very difficult if you didn't do very well at a local regional school and many times to get into as a summer associate to get into terms that Iran, which is a question, a lot of people ask on our webinars each week, which I'm going to follow up and I'll answer more questions about that today, but.
[00:07:31]That'd be more difficult and it's even if you go to a go a poorly ranked law school and you can get a position in a large law firm, it's still often, it's very difficult to get a similar one at another major firm, but it's not impossible. So the law school does have some impact.
[00:07:47] I've written a lot about law schools and why it doesn't really matter to your long-term successes have been turning. And I honestly do not think it does. The skills that make someone good at practicing law have to do with your negotiation skills your spirit, like how [00:08:00] hard you try, your willingness to learn and all sorts of things.
[00:08:03] But just to get in with a group of other attorneys who went to top law schools, they will use it against you early in your career, if you didn't do that. And I honestly that some of the most successful attorneys that I know the most successful, actually several of them didn't cut a great law school.
[00:08:18] So it's not the most important thing, but it is a major screening criteria in the larger law firms. And then if you went to a law school, that's not like a top 10, some people call them the top 14, which I think is probably a better measure of schools. I think it used to be called the top 10. Now people say top 14 or 15.
[00:08:35]If you went to a school that's not there. And did, average to poorly in a lower ranked school, it can be difficult to get a job in some large law firms. The, and that's just right out of school. The reason is because it's very difficult for law firms to to tell the differences between attorneys.
[00:08:50]Obviously there's not many attorneys applying to law firms in a city like Chicago that went to Stanford each year. But there are a lot applying [00:09:00] from, university of Indiana, university of Illinois and things like that. So if he didn't go to a top law school then it'd be then it's it becomes a little bit more competitive, especially if you're in the middle of your class, because there's just so many spaces and the people have to do to get into those firms.
[00:09:17]And then if you're at the bottom of your class they, they just assume that you may not be as driven or the law doesn't come naturally to you and so forth. And which is fine. And sometimes people just start, keep catch on later. Or they may have other things that are bothering them, but.
[00:09:30] If you didn't do well in law school, sometimes that can be a hindrance. People catch fire at different speeds in different speeds. I know one attorney that's I know several attorneys that are some of the top attorneys in the country now. And a lot of them did very poorly in law school came out, didn't pass the bar and then started with very small firms and then moved up and just kept, in Cox buyer and used, the bad things that happened to them early on in their careers, sort of rocket fuel and motivate them to try and do better.
[00:09:57] And that's what you should do if you're not in the [00:10:00] best law school from, it doesn't matter if you're not in the best law school, it doesn't matter. So this kind of what you do later on, and then another thing that I feel badly talking about, cause I know a lot of people have this problem.
[00:10:10]It's very hard to get into a large law firm early in your career, if you weren't a summer associate and another large law firm, many times. It's not th the kiss of death, I wouldn't, I say that's a little bit harsh, but it can be. If you don't get a, like a summer associate position and the largest firms then many times the law firms will assume that you didn't really want to do it because or you didn't have the grades or deliver something wrong and you want to do something else.
[00:10:36]So if you, if that happens, when other people are evaluating your skills in the future they'll see that in the wonder, what happened and and it may just mean you're just a little bit of a late bloomer and you just didn't interview you didn't do well enough on, on campus.
[00:10:49] And and that's very common. People that go straight through many times from college don't know how to interview. They are they they, sometimes people get bad first semester grades and, and then they [00:11:00] don't get the best interviews or second semester or second year. So there's all sorts of things, excuse me, that can happen.
[00:11:06]But those are just some of the, but th but if you don't have a summer associate position, definitely difficult. And it just, it makes it look like that you may not have wanted to do that or didn't try hard enough. And what I always recommend, and even now, that's you still have time even to get a summer associate position.
[00:11:22] Now it's just, attorneys need to really apply to are law students to as many places as they possibly can to make sure you do whatever you can to get a job in the summer. And and even if it's not as a summer associate, if, as long as you're in the law firm, that, that's actually pretty helpful too.
[00:11:37]And the other thing is just most partners inside of large law firms. Most associates, there were summer associates in law firms. So if you don't share that in common with them, they just look at it a little bit suspiciously and and having that job also is a way for law firms to evaluate if you're a good fit for the law firm environment.
[00:11:55] And and they really don't know that until you spend the summer with them and and [00:12:00] because many people aren't, and it becomes pretty clear very quickly and they don't want to make hiring mistakes. So typically the one thing to understand is with large law firms when you do want to work in a large law firms, or if that's what your goal is, it's much easier to get into large law firms.
[00:12:15] And if you're coming from a large law firm than it is from a small law firm, law firms just want people that have the training and are used to working with the same level of expectations and so forth as attorneys. In other large law firms, from a large law firms, it's just the large law firms typically do things a certain way, and that's why it's important to them.
[00:12:37] And I gave a big presentation about this yesterday to a group of our recruiters, but the basics are that the larger law firms typically are, have a self-reinforcing mechanism in place. So they hire attorneys from the best schools and. With the best backgrounds. And then those attorneys typically work with the best clients and those clients have deep budgets and they can spend a lot of money.
[00:12:58] So when you're [00:13:00] working at those firms, they do things right. They don't cut corners. They make sure that the work product is perfect. They spend a lot of time on it. So you learn those sorts of habits in a large law firm that you might not do in a small law firm where it's not that the attorneys are not smart enough, there's just, but the clients also aren't paying for it.
[00:13:16]So you just learned to push work through a lot faster, other skills. Another thing that can hurt you is not getting an offer as a summer associate. That's basically, when the law firm has the chance to look at you and see what you'd be like in the summer if they're not making you an offer many times, it's basically saying this person is not a large law firm material.
[00:13:35]It's not certainly as fatal as not working as a summer associate at all. But most law firms will always ask if you're receiving an offer. So summer associate they won't always check, but they'll definitely ask. And but the big thing is that the law firms are using you as a summer associate to see if you're someone that's going to be suitable to work in a large law firm.
[00:13:53] And what that means is No, they want to see how you work. They want to see what your social skills are like. They want to see your [00:14:00] behavior, Brown, others. They want to see if you're if they would be like working with you how enthusiastic you are what kind of fit you would be and whether or not they believe that you would be a good addition to their team and not everyone is.
[00:14:11] And so they, they look at that very closely. And and you really need to mess up you, you to fail in most cases and most people that don't get offers this summer associates typically do something not bad, but they may not work hard. They may they may make a pass it, people that are working with, or, others.
[00:14:28]I dunno, they just, these are some things I've seen drink too much, that kind of thing. So they just don't hire them. And then those people are seen as a potential liability. So just remember that large law firms want people that are coming from good standing from other large law firms.
[00:14:43] And the easiest way to be qualified to work in a large law firm is to currently be working in one. And then another thing that's really fatal to a lot of people. And I'm almost hesitated to bring this up, but I do think it's important is when you come out of school at the wrong time. And timing really [00:15:00] does mean a lot.
[00:15:00]A lot of times people come out and legal recessions, but then because of that because they're coming out in a recession then it becomes very difficult for them to to get a job in the future. And they there's just, it's not they just, aren't hired from the summer.
[00:15:15] They're not hired and, and then they're not hired after school, so they don't get good jobs. And there's actually a lot of people that are in that position right now just because of, reduce summer hiring or reduced, and and so forth. While you, if you do well in law school, you can and you get a job at a time from, in the summer, and then you're usually in good shape.
[00:15:35] It's not always the case. I've seen people every, five to 10 years people come out of school and offers are revoked at large law firms all over the country cause the market slows down and and then people never start. And and then a lot of times those attorneys just there, they don't have they, they give up very early in their career.
[00:15:53]You do need to start your career at a large law firm or possible. You can certainly get into one later. But in, in most cases [00:16:00] the firm, you start in out of law school and this isn't always the truth, but it's the truth. Much more than half the time, probably 70, 80% of the time.
[00:16:08]And most cases, the firm, you start without a law school will be the largest one you ever worked with because, you come out and start at the top and then you start choosing smaller and smaller firms. And sometimes it's the opposite. And I, with the people I work with, I was trying to get the opposite.
[00:16:22]But if if you come out of school, you don't have a job that can definitely hurt you. So just remember this rule again, that large law firms have almost always hire people who are coming in very good standing from other law firms and and your qualification to work in most large law firms is already working in one.
[00:16:38]And then the next one is self-explanatory I've spoken about it already to some extent, but if you don't have, if your first job out of law school is not with a major firm or federal clerkship, or if you weren't a summer associate that also can harm you to some extent, if you want to work in a large law firm again because if you're doing one of those things as a summer associate or that federal district [00:17:00] court or the appellate clerkship, or then that's usually enough to get you a job once you complete your clerkship, even if you didn't don't have experience in a law firm and you do a clerkship, that can be helpful.
[00:17:11]And then if you're. Yeah, first job out of law school was not as a clerk or as an associate, a major law firm. It's going to be more difficult getting into a large law firm. And that means, working in house, doing public interest, the government and all sorts of things. And most law firms want their attorneys to be trained in a certain mindset way of thinking of large law firms.
[00:17:29] So you definitely need to be on top of that. And just understand that's what they're looking for. The thinking process you'll pick up in different environments. Sometimes there's very good to attorneys you could work with in a small law firm. Sometimes there's very good public interest organizations or in house organizations you could work for.
[00:17:47] But the problem is law firms don't really have a sense of the quality of the attorneys that those are producing. Whereas, everyone knows what most attorneys are like out of certain law firms. And if you've been at a certain law firm for a length of time, so they really [00:18:00] want to see a training from the best law firms to hire you or from the federal judges and that sort of thing that, that have good Rutgers and habits and ways of doing things.
[00:18:10] And law firms just don't want to bring on people. Where they feel like they have to pick up that habits. They may have picked up in another setting because they can hire plenty of people that have the good habits. And, just again the large law firms are working for large clients that typically have, major budgets and do things, meaning they'll fully research matters. They'll make sure papers are, checked and double-checked they'll they'll look things over with an associate will look at them over then, and then a senior associate or mid-level associate and a partner. So when the work leaves the firm, it's very good.
[00:18:41] And then within many smaller organizations, you might be the only person doing the work. So the quality of the work isn't always going to be as high and the training is not as good. So law firms are paying for people that understand how to be very plotting and you could work to larger law firms.
[00:18:55] So just again, the rule is large law firms, almost, always on, there are people who are [00:19:00] coming in, good standing from other large law firms. And then your qualification for most law firms is currently working in one. And then this is actually a very big one. It's been a general practitioner as opposed to a specialist.
[00:19:13] And so what that means essentially is that, most, most large law firms, almost all large law firms are composts of specialists, so in a large law firm, you're typically, even if you're doing litigation in a large law firm, you're typically doing one type of litigation, or if you're doing real estate, some in the largest law firms, certain attorneys will do real estate leasing.
[00:19:34] Others will do sales, others will do a financing. And same thing with corporate, there may be, 10 different types of corporate. So the attorneys and large law firms are very specialized. Especially in the largest cities in mid-sized cities, real estate attorneys may do all sorts of things and then midsize firms, but on largest law firms they typically have specialists because they charge very high billing rates.
[00:19:55] And the idea is that the specialists will be very effective with their time and and [00:20:00] they can charge more for that. And the person only does one thing and therefore they're getting a better service. And there's probably some truth to that. So most of the large law firms break things up into specialties and even with M and a emanation example, corporate that's mergers and acquisitions and the largest law firms, or maybe attorneys that specialize, I was on a plane, not too long ago with one that only did.
[00:20:21] M and a with pharmaceutical pill companies in the, using acquiring other pharmaceutical pill companies in the biology space. It's just like they have there, there's all sorts of subsets and capital markets is securities and there's ones that normally do know software companies and others to do other things.
[00:20:39]So the largest law firms have all these sub-specialties and it's important to understand that. And if you become a generalist, then what that means is you're not an expert in one thing. And if you're not an expert then then a law firm is going to assume that, you don't have a deep understanding of something.
[00:20:53] And if you don't have a deep understanding of something, then that, then you're going to be less effective. And so like at our firm, for example we [00:21:00] only do law firm placements because it's just, there's so much to it. That, bringing in-house into the situation would be a concern because they're all looking for different things.
[00:21:09] The attorneys are different. The the practice areas are different. Types of futures are different. The counseling you need to do is different and all those sorts of things. That's important. And as a general rule large law firms do not hire generalist. And and it's just it's not going to work.
[00:21:24] So you, obviously, they always are looking for specialist. And then the other big thing is if you have more than 10 years of experience and no part of the business it becomes extremely difficult to get into the largest law firms. And and very difficult. And your odds are they're not impossible, but they're they're very diminished.
[00:21:43] And if you want to get into a position with a large law firm, you can but you're going to need to have a very specialized type of practice area. That will be, they're typically transactional practice areas, which are like risks of patent prosecution real estate. And there has to be a real dearth of those attorneys in the market.
[00:22:00] [00:21:59] So if there's not a lot of other types of attorneys in the market for the work you're trying to do in that, then and you can get in them. But litigators often have a very difficult time laterally without business when they get senior because there's just, most attorneys are litigators.
[00:22:14]And these other practice areas like very specialized practice areas, it can be easier like corporate I've placed numerous senior corporate attorneys sometimes with 30, 40 years of experience in no business because same thing with patent prosecution of some of the in real estate, because there's just a real demand for those types of attorneys at different points in time.
[00:22:32] And then and then, in transactional work is really where the, most of the demand is anything that's not transactional labor and employment to some extent is marketable when you get senior. But it's difficult. And then also as you get senior if you don't have business your options are going to be quite limited because law firms hire senior attorneys for business.
[00:22:50] So as you get more senior attorneys, typically, if they don't have business really they're going house, or they'll try to make partner at their current firm or make counsel [00:23:00] to service existing clients there. But that, that also is a very difficult thing for people to do and becomes very difficult as you get more senior.
[00:23:07]And then this is a weird one, but it's called having too much diversity. And in law firms want to hire people that are diverse. There's a huge demand for diverse attorneys and and it's very difficult for law firms because there's not enough diversity in most law firms and all of their clients are demanding diversity.
[00:23:27]They many times with law firms do not get hired because there's not enough diversity. But but the thing is that you do need to also do what you can to fit in. Now, diversity is not necessarily. When I'm talking about diversity here, I'm not talking about racial diversity, religious diversity, and that sort of thing.
[00:23:43]What I'm talking about is just looking the part, meaning you you, you want to be you want to try to sit in a, and you don't want people to feel threatened by very strong opinions one way or another.
[00:23:54]They, as an attorney, you're expected to just fit in and and work with other people and and it can [00:24:00] be a problem. If you're just, to too militant about these things that have too many pains and they're looking for a fight and that sort of thing, and I don't know how else to put that, but law firms want to feel that everybody is kind of part of the same group when they're there.
[00:24:13]And they want people of different races and sexual orientations and everything. And it's very important for them to have that. And and they really go out of their way to make that a reality. And and almost every firm does, but at the same time, they don't want any trouble.
[00:24:27] So they don't want people that are going to they talking about people that are gonna, look for trouble and look for reasons that they're not diverse and create trouble there. And they want to be able to function and their businesses. So I've seen people sometimes, getting into trouble and just some things I've seen recently I've seen.
[00:24:43] One guy that refused to get a haircut and his hair was down almost to his knees. It was very strange. I was first in this classroom, major law school that and he had very strong opinions about why is hair needed to be long? I've had other people demand very long periods of time off [00:25:00] from work supposedly for religious reasons, but, but months at a time and saw that stuff can create problems.
[00:25:06] And so law firms are just, they're relatively conservative. They're serving clients and and they want, they, they don't want trouble and and they want people to fit in to some extent. And then the next thing is if you go in house that can also create a lot of problems.
[00:25:19]And sometimes it works in a highly transactional practice area, but the idea is once you go in house law firms really believe that that you're have rejected the law firm as a place to work and that you really want to be in another environment.
[00:25:34] And they will see you as not playing their game anymore and and they will feel that you're going to leave. And they feel that you maybe try to go in house with the client again, and that you're just not committed to a law firm environment. And that's okay. Lots of attorneys aren't committed to a law firm environment and most firms definitely aren't perfect and there's issues with law firms and all sorts of problems, but it's just but it's better to to just cut the cord and realize that if you've done that [00:26:00] you're going to have a very hard time going back.
[00:26:01] And I've seen even in the Bay area where I'm the time, there's just a massive demand for attorneys and where they just another with corporate backgrounds. And we're, frankly, if you're with a law firm and Went to law school and have least worked in the firm of more than three or four people you're onto getting a big firm are good.
[00:26:22]They won't even in those cases hire from that house. In house it's just a sign that you're probably not going to stick around and in the right, most of the time large law firms and they also don't know the quality of the people that you're practicing with, if you're in house and the type of work you're doing and all sorts of reasons.
[00:26:37]So law firms just want to hire people that are committed to working in law firms. And that's just how it is. And especially large law firms and they don't have to play this game. They have enough people that are coming to them from law firms anyway. So in order to to do that in order to stick with law firms, that's really a noter for law firms to hire you really needed to come in from a law firm.
[00:26:57] And just remember this rule that, large law firms, [00:27:00] almost always hard people are coming in, good standing from other large law firms. And the biggest qualification is is currently working on one. Okay. And then the next one is quitting your job without having another one lined up, which a lot of people do.
[00:27:12]And I think it's a very bad idea. When you, once you've done that other firms know that it's pretty much just a matter of time until you find something with that firm you don't like, and you also quit. So as soon as you quit a job without having another one lined up, yup.
[00:27:26]No future employers, all sorts of messages about your lack of perseverance your tolerance for adversity your ability to stick it out and so forth, regardless of the issue. And the other thing is law firms you have to look at it from their point.
[00:27:40] Yeah. Again, they have so many people that they can hire. And so if they feel that that you're not going to stick around and you may just quit for no reason, then why would they hire you? And they can hire other people that, that aren't going to have those sorts of issues and they will.
[00:27:53]Everything you do, you have to see is that going to put me, is that going to move me closer to being the kind of person a law firm wants to [00:28:00] hire? Is that going to move me farther away? And unfortunately when you quit a job without another lined up law firms become very nervous about that.
[00:28:07] And they, it makes them think that, you may not stick around. And and they're very bad. In New York city, for example which is in my opinion one of the most unforgiving legal markets, because there's so many people that they can choose from, if you put a job with another one lined up, it becomes almost impossible to get a job with another large law firm.
[00:28:25]I've seen, I may have seen it happen before, but it was very rare. And large law firms only want to hire people coming from standing from other large law firms. And if you're not working in one then that's a bad sign, so you should never if possible ever quit a job without having another one lined up.
[00:28:39] Because even if you're not getting fired, because it's going to send a message to the employer that you're likely to leave again. And then another one that I hate to bring up, because it happens to a lot of people. I know many very good attorneys that have been fired or laid off from jobs or haven't received offers when they were a summer associate.
[00:28:58] And I would say the percentage of [00:29:00] fraternities have been fired or laid off from a job or didn't receive offers. One of those that are, 10 or yes, less years out of law school is pretty high. It's definitely more than 50%. A lot of people, if you've been fired from a job, you mean you're in good company.
[00:29:12] Most attorneys get fired at some point in their career, most get laid off at some point in their career and have other bad things happen to them. But the problem is with large law firms if you're unemployed are laid off law firms typically will not hire you large law firms.
[00:29:26]And it happens, but it's rare. And the larger the market the more difficult it is. And and it's just the reason is because, even if it's not your fault and the firm laid off everybody they just they have their pick of people. They can choose all sorts of people that work for them.
[00:29:42] And and if you're unemployed, it just sends a message that there's a reason you're unemployed. It could be related to your performance, attitude, reliability, entitlement the fact that you don't need money or even just the fact that you weren't the best person and that they didn't see the value in keeping you around.
[00:29:58] So most law [00:30:00] firms believe they can do better by hiring someone else. And they do, they won't, they don't even, they won't even pay attention to it. Even if there's great reasons for why you required or laid off, they're typically nervous. They think they are, someone should have protected you.
[00:30:13] If you were doing good work, you would have been protected. They think that you were really good and they were making money off you. They would have kept you around. If you had a good attitude, they would have kept you around because you built other people up and music. This is just the way they think.
[00:30:24]Large law firms are almost always only hiring people coming from good standing, otherwise law firms. And and then your qualification again is currently working that, and then another one that can hurt you is working as a contractor staff attorney, or at least having them under resume.
[00:30:40]The problem with that is you're sending a message that that you need flexibility to where you want to work as a contractor staff attorney and that you want to flexibility in your life. You're also sending a message that you may not like the same kind of accountability that the type of work you're doing, the interest level of the work isn't as important.
[00:30:58]The may not be committed to the law [00:31:00] firm that that you can't get a job as a regular attorney. There's all sorts of problems and things that have messages that may be sending. I've, I don't think I've ever seen a contract attorney hired by a major law firm as a full-time attorney.
[00:31:12] And even once you get inside of major law firms as a contract attorney, they often have these kind of Rules against ever making you a full-time attorney there. And they S you know, if you're doing a really good job, the partners may say, Oh, we'll see what we can do in the future and stuff, but nothing really ever happens.
[00:31:29] And sometimes it does. I've seen people become rarely. I look at thousands of resumes a week and and I think I see people become full-time attorneys from contract attorneys, maybe once or twice a year out of looking at tens of thousands of resumes. It D it does happen but it's very rare.
[00:31:46] And and that's just something to think about. So the most important rule is large law firms almost always hire people for coming in, good standing from other large law firms as attorneys. And and working as a contract attorney definitely can hurt you. Another one I hate [00:32:00] to bring up, but is also true as soon a former employer all sorts of bad things happened to attorneys to make them Sue former employers may be treated very poorly.
[00:32:09] They could be harassed, all sorts of things and they can be helped. All, whatever is awful. You can imagine happening in law firms, it happens it happens in large law firms and small law firms, but the problem is. There's always two sides to a story. Law firms are risk converse and and if they have a choice between hiring someone who sued their former employer and hind someone who didn't Sue their former employer, all things considered, they're really going to gravitate towards a person that didn't because the person that sued in the past employer may have sour grapes.
[00:32:38] They may they may Sue them. They don't know. I've seen attorneys that have sued every employer they ever worked for. It's you wouldn't believe it. But law firms know that there's just plenty of people that can hire who aren't going to have past issues and they're going to just hire them instead.
[00:32:54]You need to avoid the issues that you may be some kind of problem for your next employer, some sort of troublemaker [00:33:00] people do get in trouble inside of law firms and bad things happen. And and sometimes I'm not saying you, you're wrong, not Sue, anybody's wrong soon and employer, but you just need to be very careful because that, that will come up.
[00:33:12] People will find it in the future. And and then we'll run just because they don't want to be sued themselves. And once a lawsuit is filed it drags the farm to the mud and people don't want that. And then another thing is of course is going from a large law firm to a smaller law firm.
[00:33:29]Many attorneys believe that they can move from a large law firm to a smaller one. If they don't like the smaller one that can move back to a large law firm. And this is just something that hardly ever works out. A third law firm will just assume that the attorney who moved from the large law firm, the smaller one was, simply not a good fit for working in the large law firm and sought to escape to a smaller law firm.
[00:33:52]Because they couldn't, maybe they couldn't get a position in a large law firm and maybe they didn't like the hours that they didn't like, there were just things about the large law firm that they [00:34:00] didn't like. So when a law firm see that they they're simple. They're simply they don't like it.
[00:34:05] Now, if you move to a small law firm to a larger law firm, and then you want to even a larger law firm, law firms do like that because it shows that you want to take on increase in responsibility, but many times going from a large law firm to a small one it's just showing you're rejecting.
[00:34:20]You've got the large, lots of practice and Another problem with small law firms is they typically do not represent clients that are as large. So the training is inconsistent. People often would because they want less pressure. Sometimes they move just because they can't get a job.
[00:34:34] And, really whatever the reasons are. Most large law firms do not want to take that risk. They just remember the most important role as large law firms only hire people, almost always who are coming, are in good standing from other large law firms and their best qualification for working in large law firms currently working.
[00:34:50]And then and this is great stuff by the way that I'm sharing with you guys, because these are things that if you want to work in a large law firm, you need to see and you need to understand. So [00:35:00] I. I I wish people understood this stuff better because th then they would make much better decisions how their career but there's just a few more of these.
[00:35:07] And then we'll open up to questions, but the next one is moving firms three or more times in less than five years, or having too many firms on your resume. And so there's nothing wrong with moving firms. But if you in people move all the time and there's good reasons for moving. But if you do so too often, it's a problem.
[00:35:24]Once you've moved firms, several times in a short period, then most firms are going to be, assume that, you're going to leave them as well. And and regardless of the reasons that you moved working at too many firms it's just going to send the message that you're not going to be trusted by clients that you're probably not going to stick around.
[00:35:42] They can introduce you to clients that, you may be trained and leave. You can't prove relied upon that the problems develop when you get there. And then you may require constant coddling and reassurance. I interviewed someone yesterday for a job. When I looked at their resume, I hadn't noticed that the person had all the, it was [00:36:00] just for kind of a sales related position, but I noticed that the person had jobs like every single year for like the past couple of years for past I don't know, 15 years.
[00:36:08] And people that jobs all the time, it's not it's bad, you want to make sure that that even the people stick around. And so if someone's moving firms is typically a sign that either there's something wrong with them, or there's something wrong with their work product and the peoples who are pushing them away.
[00:36:24]And Britain, they realize that they're not going to go anywhere. Just all sorts of issues like that. And and law firms also get concerned and an attorney who moves around too much. It's just going to have issues. Many times attorneys that are moving around do have issues that could be with substance abuse.
[00:36:39] It could be with in most cases, it's word, product related, a lot of cases with substance abuse. They have personality issues, just all sorts of things. And in law firms just don't need to play that game. They can hire people that have stability. So why would they want to hire someone that does it, and so once you start moving firms, you need to be very careful because most of [00:37:00] the time, people that move firms are moving for reasons related to them and their perception of the world.
[00:37:06] And not necessarily anything that could be wrong with the employer. Another thing is just, if you say bad things about your former current employer and interviews law firms don't like that. When you say bad things about your employer the law firm knows you're probably going to say bad things about them as well.
[00:37:21]Most large law firms that people are talking poorly about have been around for decades. And they're going to be around for decades after the attorney that speaks so negatively as economy and their businesses. And and the problems that they have now are probably going to be similar to the ones that people will be able to say bad things about him in the future.
[00:37:36] So it's just your inability it's really what you're saying. It makes you look worse than the firm when you're talking in a giveaway about a firm in an interview, because your problems with that firm are more related to you then and not getting along in the environment in the firm.
[00:37:52] And it's just not a good idea. Even if the law firm is horrible to you working with people that are completely unbalanced and so forth, you just, you have to be very [00:38:00] careful about what you say. Because the law firm wants to believe that, you're going to leave there and be very thankful about having worked there.
[00:38:06] They want to believe that. That you're discreet enough to keep any issues with them confidential. If things happen negatively that they can trust you that you're not going to go around town saying negative things. And and then there's just in the law firms have no incentive to really to hire you.
[00:38:23] If you're, if we're saying negative things, they want to hire someone who's going to talk positively about them in the future, even if they don't get along there. So it's just important to keep that in mind. And then another one is working in insurance defense. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with insurance defense.
[00:38:36] I think there's a lot of it's a good practice area and and but large law firms the it's just a question of the rates tend to be very low and and the work quality, not as high large law firms and the fees tend to be low because you're working for no insurance companies and so forth that are trying to save money.
[00:38:53] And so they don't pay for a lot of research and work. And the work is often not that the quality is not as good and and [00:39:00] people have to rush their work. And so you typically will pick up bad habits that are certainly fixable in the future and and you can learn around them. But it's just not, you're not coming from a large law firm, even until our slot insurance defense firm does a lot of a lot of work and is a big firm a national insurance defense firm.
[00:39:18]It becomes difficult to lateral and most of their salaries would dramatically lower. And and I'm talking about insurance defense, not insurance coverage, but it becomes hard relocating out of that practice area into a large law firm. Just remember the rule that large law firms.
[00:39:34]I'm really interested in. People are coming and good standing from other large law firms and their qualification to work there as is currently working in one. And then another big one for working in a large law firm is doing consumer related work. That's criminal law like white collar family law, consumer bankruptcy, tax resolution, personal injury immigration law, less.
[00:39:56]Residential law trusting the States less. And small company [00:40:00] representation. I will say though that from a placement perspective with the exception of criminal law, all of these are very, we place people on all these practices all the time. And so I, I have I think that th these attorneys are in most of these practices, especially now immigration trusts in the States and family law bearing demand.
[00:40:18]So there's a lot of demand for these attorneys, but large law firms typically don't do this kind of work. They do some immigration and they they do some trusts in the States, but. For the most part, they don't do a lot of this stuff. And they work with companies that have huge budgets and don't represent consumers and and they're just willing to open up their wallets and, write checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars a month without blinking.
[00:40:39] And so large law firms typically can't pay the salaries they do, or office space and so forth or maintain the staffing they go with with with this sort of thing. It's just it's a practice area that these are practice areas that if you want to work in a large law firm, you it's very difficult to work to do that.
[00:40:58]To, to work in these temper practice [00:41:00] areas. And so the companies that can't afford to hire a large law firms, typically again, are just writing huge checks each month. They don't, th the money is just completely inconsequential to them. They often don't even question the money, come the checks and and they need to have those sorts of clients.
[00:41:15] And so the consumer facing issues are things that don't typically require a lot of expenses. A lot of that where there's not a lot of ongoing billing and so forth. And that, that can make a difference. In many cases if a large law firm is doing something that, they're going to ask their associates to write all sorts of memos, they're going to charge for travel time, ordering meals and charge fees for photocopies and scanning and, charge as much for paralegals and so forth as most small or mid-size firms charge for attorney.
[00:41:46]A consumer just can't afford to pay that sort of stuff. And and the insight that a attorney has an a major law firm and the amount of work that they do is also a much different they're not trained to cut corners there. In a consumer facing law [00:42:00] firms, many people want to do things the easy way, not the hard way.
[00:42:03] And and that's just how that works. And again, the rule is large law firms, almost always only hire people are coming to goods to and from other large law firms. And then any sort of black Mark on your state bar record or negative salacious information about you and your past online can hurt you.
[00:42:18]Lawyers are just expected to be kind of doll and and depending on how conservative the firm is any negative information about you can undermine your credibility. And it just doesn't look good to clients. So you need to look pretty spotless.
[00:42:31] I've seen people not get jobs because they were they posted something on Facebook that they hated working late in their law firm. It's just stupid things like that. I've seen all sorts of other people have their legal career stop because they got arrested. At some point when they were young, one, one guy got arrested for No speeding in his boat.
[00:42:51] And he was being chased. They didn't realize, just stupid stuff. And then state bar complaints can hurt you. So large law firms are very afraid of any [00:43:00] sorts of problems. And I've seen attorneys lose jobs for stuff like this all the time. So any sort of black Mark in your record can hurt you.
[00:43:07]And law firms do not want to hire people that have any certificates give information. And then and then working, and again, this is a similar to what we talked about earlier, but if you work as a solo practitioner or for a very small law firm that, that can also hurt you. A lot of times attorneys believe that they could open an office, the sole practitioner, and then maybe go back to a large law firm.
[00:43:28] But that rarely works out that it's, again, there's not the oversight and the work quality can suffer. Th the work is typically not going to be seen in a very serious for large companies. It's going to be a sign that you would rather be independent than work with other people that just all sorts of warning signs.
[00:43:45] And so the only way attorneys from this background will ever get positions, typically in a large law firm is if they have a very large client there are a few pain, high rates. They have very rare skills and risks or corporate, or two examples from patent laws. Another one they may be working [00:44:00] for a very famous attorney or an, a very rare practice area.
[00:44:03] Like I saw someone with specific, skills and doing work related to Oh, healthcare got a position not too long ago. So those are some things that can help, but large law firms really want to hire people, not coming in good standing from other large law firms.
[00:44:18] And then your qualification to work in most large law firms is currently working in one and then the conclusions. And then we'll wrap it up and take some questions. Are this, that these are the reasons that that you work inside a large, that it becomes difficult to work inside of a large law firm.
[00:44:33] And I and I've seen these things. These are the big things and each one of these things needs to be overcome. And and I'm sure we'll have questions from people today about some of the things that they may have on their records. And what I would say to you is I've seen people overcome every single one of these, if not more when they're trying to get in touch with any kind of beginning to a large law firm and there's ways to do it.
[00:44:54] And I hope I'll answer some questions about that today. So I'm going to take a quick [00:45:00] break. And then if you guys saw, write down the questions you have I'll come back and answer them and just two minutes. Thanks.
[00:45:06]all right. We're going to get started with questions. My favorite part of the week. So let's get started here. Second,
[00:45:12]stay here. Stop sharing for just one second
[00:45:17]okay, so first question. Oh, Jack.
[00:45:21]The first question is let's see. And I knew I'd get some questions about this. It is I was unsuccessful getting a position as a summer associate but I managed to get an offer as a paid internship, the prosecutor's office and the big market USA attorney general coming from a top 14 law school, would I be able to transition to a large law firm later?
[00:45:42] And what steps should I take to get into the large law firm track? Okay. So I have a couple of different suggestions. This is very common by the way, lots of people they've got a top 15 law schools or top law schools do not get jobs as summer associates and a big firms. So the first thing I would say [00:46:00] is I'd love to see your resume to just to get a sense of if there's anything in there that sticks out.
[00:46:04]Sometimes people have backgrounds and things like that prior to law school, like healthcare or engineering or different things. And you can, a lot of times if you really try to get into a certain practice area, you may have a background as a teacher, an educator. If you have something that gives you an entree in your practice here and shows a previous interest in something that can help you.
[00:46:24] So a previous interest, if you know what it, is there anything in your background. That looks like, it's interesting in meaning something that makes you stick out. It could be education law, or if you're a teacher, it could be engineering to be a patent attorney. It could be law enforcement.
[00:46:43]If you want to be like holler, I don't know. But there's still a lot of times they're just stuck in people's background that, that gives them an entree into the legal field in a way to enter their with things that they previous interests background and things that they may have done in the past.
[00:46:58] So there's that the next thing [00:47:00] is you're not necessarily recovering. So people transfer from prosecutors offices into large law firms all the time, especially from big markets. You may just go into the prosecutor's office right out of school and and work there for a couple of years and then be able to transfer into a law firm later on or start your own practices or white collar or criminal defense attorney, all sorts of things.
[00:47:22] So it doesn't necessarily matter. But the thing I would recommend is in your third year of law school you need to eat and you need to apply foreign Y to places. And so I would apply to as many firms as possible, and as many Mark, as many large law firms as possible, and as many markets.
[00:47:43] And then also get the very best grades you can, so you want to get the best grades and then in addition to giving the best grade and cause you may need them after your third year. And then I would also five, four if you'd like litigation apply for clerkships and federal clerkship. And [00:48:00] then one of the things that's really good is if you go to a, do a federal district court clerkship, and then after that, you could even do an, a appellate.
[00:48:07] So you could do a federal and then an appellate district as can then a pallet. And it can do a really good job heavily your district judge. Many times they will recommend you for an appellate clerkships. Those are two things or you can apply for a job after your district court clerkship.
[00:48:20]Those are the things that I would recommend typically I would not feel that badly about networking as a, as a summer associate, if you went to a great law school and you have a good job working for the prosecutor's office then you still have plenty of time.
[00:48:34] I would also work very hard and the prosecutor's office. You want to get the best recommendations you possibly can. That would be another thing I would say. So a lot of people. And go into work and jobs, so not excited about, and they don't think are going to really lead to anything and then they don't try their hardest there.
[00:48:53] And and that ends up hurting them quite quite a deal quite a bit later on. Whatever you can possibly [00:49:00] do to work really hard and get good recommendations and learn as much as you can, and really get a lot of enthusiasm. I, after my first summer, I worked in the justice department, which I really didn't like, and it convinced me that I wanted to work in a law firm for a bunch of reasons.
[00:49:16]And just because I felt that the law firm just seemed a lot more exciting. And the people in my office that I worked at the justice department didn't seem that excited about what they were doing. So that's how I'd recommend doing it. An intern within your control store yourself into it and be the best attorney you can be.
[00:49:31] And if you do a very good job and work hard in the prosecutor's office, that's just going to lead to more stuff later on. You'll have the connections, you'll meet people, you'll work with people that may go to work and other law firms and just, don't take anything for granted. The other thing I would recommend is if you're going to a top 14 law school, Oh, you should always apply to firms in your home state and market are the largest firms.
[00:49:54] There is, you may go to, for example, I don't know where you're at, but say you were at Vanderbilt law school. [00:50:00] You would want to maybe apply it to Fran. You were from Cleveland, you would want to be applying to firms in Cleveland for jobs. And most people that go to Vanderbilt may be trying to stick around and go to Washington D C or work in Memphis, or or in the Midwest, I don't know, better in the South in Atlanta, but trying to apply to these other markets can be very helpful, especially in markets where you're from.
[00:50:22]Okay. Let's see here, the next question, and these are all great questions. So just ask as many questions as you guys have. And I love answering just makes my week see here. I decided not to go to law school because of the job prospects from non top 25. I keep hearing that there, okay. Supply of attorneys, we don't need anymore.
[00:50:43] Maybe it was wrong for me to end the journey so soon because I find the law fascinating, but I understand it says legal practices while unpleasant based on your experiences is true. So I had an interesting experience. So I was I dunno, about three or four years ago, I was taking these acting classes and And and of course I'm not an actor [00:51:00] of, but, but this teacher kept telling me like, you're going to be famous.
[00:51:03] You're going to do really well. And and then sure enough, I started meeting famous casting people and they started saying similar stuff to me as well. And and it didn't make any sense to me now, obviously I'm not doing that anymore, but when I asked the guy, why am I, why do you think I'm so good at this?
[00:51:20] He said you are good at it because you're studying it. And you're learning everything you possibly can about it. And you're taking it very seriously in generally, someone who's successful doing one thing will always be successful doing something else, meaning, you know what I'm doing with you today, talking to you.
[00:51:35] I put myself, I throw myself into it and everything I do, I throw myself into it. So it doesn't matter where you go to law school to be a successful attorney. If you throw yourself into it, you can be successful. It doesn't matter that. Maybe I could have been a great actor who the hell knows. But but the point is that if I'd throw my slough into it, I probably would have been okay.
[00:51:56] And at least been able to make a living doing it. And it's like that with [00:52:00] law schools, like I know plenty of people that went to fourth and, the worst law schools in the country and do very well just because you're not working in a large law firm is insane. There's no reason not to practice law because, cause you didn't go to a top 20 law school.
[00:52:13]That's just ridiculous. If you like it and there's things about the idea of practicing law that appeal to you, then you should do it. I know people that come out of law school and are having. The best careers imaginable just very successful and and and doing very well.
[00:52:28] And and those people are successful because they throw themselves into it and that's what you need to do. It's not your law school honestly, does not matter. It doesn't matter. It's it matters if you want to work with the biggest law firms, but, if you're trying to do something and you have the passion for whatever you're trying to do on your own, it's just, it's crazy to think of the law school should hold you back.
[00:52:49]Mark Zuckerberg didn't finish college. Who didn't, bill Gates didn't finish college. There's just, you can do all this, you can become an attorney and do very well. Without going to the best law school, all the tons of people do, [00:53:00] I think it's crazy to work to really worry about the quality of your law school.
[00:53:05] I don't think just because you're not getting a lot of
[00:53:09] Praise from people or getting into the best law schools is ridiculous. You may have other skills that that are important. Think about all these people that make money in social media and there's a lot of them that live around me Kim Kardashian and all these kinds of people like that made billions of dollars.
[00:53:23] And and they're certainly not the kind of people that were great students in school. They have other skills, they have social