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Author Topic: Do big firms hire from their support staff??  (Read 8652 times)

sfgirl15

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Do big firms hire from their support staff??
« on: July 25, 2005, 12:47:16 PM »
I'm just curious, but does anyone know if big law firms will hire you on as an attorney (once you get your degree, of course) after you've been working there as a legal assistant/paralegal/secretary??  The reason I ask is that I'm going to an evening program, but I've heard that big firms frown upon evening students...but I was wondering if I were to get my foot in the door another way, would they give me a chance??

Any input would be helpful...thank you.

RWA

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Re: Do big firms hire from their support staff??
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2005, 06:35:54 PM »
I'm just curious, but does anyone know if big law firms will hire you on as an attorney (once you get your degree, of course) after you've been working there as a legal assistant/paralegal/secretary??  The reason I ask is that I'm going to an evening program, but I've heard that big firms frown upon evening students...but I was wondering if I were to get my foot in the door another way, would they give me a chance??

Any input would be helpful...thank you.

Why would a good firm want to hire someone with bad grades from a bad school simply because they stuck a few labels on a closing binder? Firms care about grades and law school quality. There aren't any backdoors (unless your daddy is a big client). Who said firms frown on evening students? Firms frown on stupid evening students from bad schools. There isn't any "give me a chance" in a law firm, when you're not productive until year 4.

petrodollar

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Re: Do big firms hire from their support staff??
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2005, 06:41:02 PM »
How well can you 'work the couch' for the senior partners?

LawSchoolhopeful

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Re: Do big firms hire from their support staff??
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2005, 06:51:21 PM »
There's no reason to be mean to the poor guy.  :-\

Although it probably won't be a BIG boost, it certainly will help to have your name known around the firm!  Especially if you've made a reputation for yourself as being very helpful.  Be sure to ask people if they need help with any of their work, especially partners or other people involved with hiring.

You'll definitely have an advantage in the interview.  Make sure you bring up (but dont' be obvious about it!!) that you know the firm's general "style" as well as its filing systems, etc.  Firms don't want to have to spend lots of time and money training people!

Good luck!

maelstrom

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Re: Do big firms hire from their support staff??
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2005, 07:07:45 PM »
No, of course they don't.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is just as ignorant as you are.

LawSchoolhopeful

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Re: Do big firms hire from their support staff??
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2005, 07:27:56 PM »
You don't know what you're talking about.  I have an uncle who did exactly this.  Don't let these jerks get you down!!!  ;D

taterstol

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Re: Do big firms hire from their support staff??
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2005, 11:52:45 AM »
So much attitude from uninformed posters!

The poster above is right. There are several people from my 1L section who got 1L summer associate jobs with firms that they paralegaled for before law school (a few in new york). I wouldn't paralegal for a firm hoping to later get hired, because you might as well just go to law school if that's the only reason you want to do it. But it's definitely a card to play when you do your 1L job search.

summer associate usually = eventual offer unless you screw up big

nuzzle77

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Re: Do big firms hire from their support staff??
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2005, 10:29:30 AM »
Yeah, jeez lots of hostility!

I am currently working at a "big law firm" as a legal assistant.  I was hired with the knowledge that I would be attending law school during the evenings.  Each person I spoke with at my firm said that was admirable and showed determination and intelligence.  I certainly feel that having made connections here and working with partners/attys on a daily basis will CERTAINLY give me a leg up on the competition once I am looking for jobs...
Heading to the University of Baltimore School of Law

Todd

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Re: Do big firms hire from their support staff??
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2005, 04:13:53 PM »
It has never been what you know. It has always been who you know. Now if you perform poorly that can hurt you and a decent performance definitely helps. Perhaps a large firm looking to boost its standing by hiring from Harvard or Yale may pass you by anyway, but if they like you they will create a position for you.

SillyMia

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Re: Do big firms hire from their support staff??
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2005, 01:10:28 AM »
SFGirl:

Here's what I know from experience. 

The new attorney in our office was the Office Manager/Legal Assistant at a law firm of 3 attorneys (2 partners, big cases - small town)for 5 years.  She decided after year one to go to night school at the local law school (we don't have an ABA accredited one here, but the local one is locally respected).  Two months before she graduated, they hired another attorney.  Six months before she graduated, she had asked for two months of leave so she could study for her Bar.  They said, "no, sorry, we'd rather just fill your position at that point".  They later stated (shortly after hiring new atty) that they really didn't have room for another atty b/c they just hired one.  So, she went off in search for another job with three letters of recommendation from the firm.

She landed in our office because one of the partners was opposing counsel in one of our cases.  The sole practitioner (my boss) was in a depo and casually mentioned that his associates had recently left.  Partner said, "hey, I know the perfect person who just took the bar but it will be three months before she finds out if she passed".  There was also discussion of not hiring her on because she had worked there for 5 years, it would be hard not to have the "assistant expectations" from her even as an atty.  In other words, in their eyes, she would still be support staff with a law degree.

Now, as I work for both of them now, I talk with process servers and court clerks who recognize her name and always have good things to say about her and how happy they are that she is an atty (yes, she passed the bar).  During the five years of paralegaling, she mangaged to gain a good reputation here.  Her prior bosses put in great words for her as she searched and she acquired a job as a result of it.

Now, my boss has discussed my staying at the firm in exchange for tuition if I go to night school.  I think that's a completely different situation.

I think it's important to make contacts but not to have expectations from your current employer b/c it is always possible that you will never be looked at as an "attorney" at the firm.

I think it's possible to be offered a job but, as my current boss says, "you're very marketable because you don't need your own assistant to type or draft pleadings.  You are a package deal." 

My thoughts on the whole "package deal" is that it could be a trap.  As an assistant, I'm already super busy.  I can't imagine lawyering and doing my job.

Just some things to think about.

p.s.  you are not a loser by going to night school.  The atty I referenced has no student loans and has a cushy atty's salary now and works 7 hour days mon-fri.