Currently a first year doing insurance defense. But I’m dying to transition to L&E. I have the courses, internships, journal note all in and around L&E. However, I’m 8 months into my first job doing solely insurance defense. Any tips on how to transition? Anyone make the transition before and know how to sell state court litigation experience to a L&E firm? I’m in a major market.

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I started out doing maritime personal injury defense and moved to L&E where I have had a long career. The insurance defense work allowed me to take depos, interview witnesses, handle discovery, mediation and even a low value arbitration before I was a 3rd year. That’s what I sold to a prestigious firm with an L&E practice who then hired me. Get at least a year or more of experience and then try to get interviews with the L&E boutiques, Littler, Ogletree, Fisher & Phillips, Ford & Harrison, Constangy Brooks, Jackson Lewis or EPLI practices at insurance defense firms. Those firms are more likely to have openings and immediate needs for litigation associates who can learn the law.

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As a first year, I think you’ve got plenty of time! I just accepted an L&E role after about 9 years of doing insurance defense/commercial litigation. The litigation experience you get from ID will definitely aid you in switching practice areas. I suggest joining L&E groups (e.g. a bar association section or some sort of equivalent), taking L&E related CLEs, and writing content for either the firm website or a blog about L&E topics. This is all good info to include in a cover letter to show your interest when you apply for an L&E position. Also happy to chat via private message about my experience!

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I JUST made this exact transition. Spent two years in ID and just switched to L&E at a biglaw firm. I stressed the practical litigation experience I got from ID (the amount of depositions id taken, mediations, hearings etc) I also stressed that because ID is high volume, I got very good at juggling deadlines and managing a heavy case load. Have a good writing sample or two handy. Any client facing experience you’ve gotten is good to stress. I also talked about how although I was doing ID, it involved working very closely with employers which taught me what matters to businesses in litigation and also help solidify the fact that L&E work is where my passion really is, because working with employers and business owners was my favorite part of the job

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Switch as soon as you can, otherwise you get pigeon holed into an area you don’t wanna stay in. The longer you stay in insurance, the harder the answer to “you don’t seem to have any labour and employment experience”..

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