How long until someone is pigeonholed into a specific litigation area, generally? I started at a V50 firm in a different practice area, switched to plaintiff’s side securities litigation and am in my second full year of this practice. I like the firm and like the work, but am cognizant that at some point I need to decide if I am sticking with this or want to broaden my practice. How long does someone generally have to make this type of decision? Im a 2018 T14 grad for reference if it matters.

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So I'm coming at it from a little bit different of a situation. I've been an ADA for 7 years and I'm done with criminal law. But trying to find a job outside of the criminal field is impossible. I'm not even getting looked at for civil litigation jobs that are asking for 4 years of civil litigation work... I've tried so many more cases, hearings, etc that person, and they don't care. Why?


Let me ask you this: why so civil litigation partners not think I can handle civil trials... I could be doing murder trials and they are like "we'll start you off with some depositions" .... what?

FWIW, I’m a v100 6th year general commercial lit associate, and I’ve been trying to lateral into a more specialized group for over a year without success. Based on the job openings I’ve seen, once you become a 5th year it gets much harder to retool without relevant experience.

Thanks, That’s helpful context. I guess the definition of “retool” is an issue. If i wanted to stay on the plaintiffs side of things, but broaden my practice area how much of a retool is that really? Firm/interviewer specific id imagine, but ive already gotten depo experience here (only taking) and have held the pen on briefs in fed and state court. Long winded way of asking at what point does practice area/substance overtake lit experience as the relevant inquiry for a new firm?

It’s hard to move into a different practice group after your third year because by then the partners have worked with associates who know that practice area fairly well by then. If you really want to switch I’d suggest finding a partner in that practice group and ask to begin being staffed on some of those cases so you can get experience. Then you’ll have to shine and do just as well or better than the associates they’ve been using so the partner keeps requesting that you are staffed on those cases.

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