So I've written in the past about how I'm in my last semester of law school and I'll be studying for the bar this summer. In August, I received and accepted an offer to work at a prestigious law firm here in San Diego after the bar. The offer was to join the firm, but not to any particular practice group. By the end of the summer, I knew I wanted to work in the litigation group, but so did all the other summer associates I'd worked with. And I knew it was unlikely there would be enough spots in the litigation practice for all of us. Still, I weighed my options-- I could have applied to other firms this fall to ensure a litigation position somewhere else in San Diego, for instance. That would have meant interviewing at law firms right after I returned from China, and I just didn't think that would be great for bonding with Marcie. Plus I really like the firm I worked at last summer. They are one of only two firms named as one of the 100 best places in the U.S. for Working Mothers. So I took the offer (immediately and without hesitation), and I've been waiting ever since to see which practice group they'd place me in.
For those of you who don't know this, different lawyers actually do completely different kinds of things. Corporate attorneys who work on mergers and acquisitions, for example, do very little research of case law. They rarely (if ever) write briefs, appear in court, or write legal memoranda. They interact with clients quite a lot, advising them. They stay very current on laws and changes in laws and regulations. They tend to be pretty good at networking because it benefits their clients to know who to merge with and/or acquire. Litigators, on the other hand, are what we tend to see on television. They sue people and they defend lawsuits. They research caselaw, write legal briefs, appear in court and make oral arguments. They negotiate to settle claims, and sometimes they even take a case to trial. Now, there are different types of litigation, of course-- people who sue (or defend) medical malpractice suits or personal injury cases, or reclaim money for insurance companies (called insurance subrogation work). There are positive things about both types of attorneys. And there are disadvantages to both types of work. One thing I've discovered is that I really love litigation work and am not so hot on corporate work. I'd do it and do a good job at it, I think. But I wouldn't love it.
Anyway, today I got the news. I've been assigned to our litigation group! This could mean doing employment litigation, or securities litigation, or regular business litigation. All of which sounds fantastic to me because it involves litigation! No word yet on when I'll start my new, fabulous job (which is not to say I don't love my current, fabulous job-- because I sure will miss my colleagues!). But that's okay for now. At least now when people ask, "Do you know what kind of law you'll be practicing?" I can say, "Yes. Civil litigation."