Those who switched from Plaintiffs work to Defense, what was it like? What did you like about it, what didn’t you like? Considering a switch...

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A buddy of mine who has done plaintiff's work just jumped ship to my large defense firm. Several months in and he doesn't seem to have any complaints.

At our experience level (6years out) he says that he may make more doing plaintiff's work, but prefers the predictability of our salaries and bonuses. He took a salary and bonus cut during covid and ended up making about $25k less than anticipated.

His biggest "problem" if you'd call it that, is adjusting to the clients' mandatory reporting guidelines. This includes the form and content of the reports, the intervals at which they are due, and the partners' various expectation about the content of those reports. Reporting to a client is a huge part of defense work so get ready to have your legal acumen challenged, tested, and exposed.

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Thank you for this. Sounds like exactly the boat I’m in now.

No problem. You sound dissatisfied. If that is true, Don't forget to ask yourself whether it is the firm or the plaintiff's side-- or even the practice area-- that is causing the dissatisfaction.

And don't forget this: you are most likely new enough at this (if less than 5-7 years out and reasonable mind can disagree on whether it's 5, 6, or 7) where you have plenty of time to jump around and try new things without anxiety about what it might look like on your resume.

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I switched from P to D after 3 years, and it’s 100% about personality fit with the practice area and the differences in risk tolerance. In plaintiff’s work you have ownership of the case and your fortunes are tied to the outcomes of cases. In defense work, you get paid a steady salary and get arguably more interesting work but your money is capped and there’s less of a rush.

I switched from Plaintiff to in-house for Defense Insurance litigation. The difference is between theory experience and practical experience. In plaintiff’s work my experience was more develop the case and then when it was ready to go hand it off to a trial attorney. On the defense side it’s been more mechanical (appearances, depositions, arbitrations, trials etc).

It goes from dealing with clients (plaintiff work) to dealing with claims (who are like professional clients), and billing (if you get a job with that).

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