Recently, someone raised a question dealing with non-traditional paths to a big law firm on Abovethelaw. This question is related to LegalJob’s first post concerning a “hook” for getting into a big law firm.
The fact pattern is that someone whose intention is to be a public interest litigator wondered whether it is a wise career choice to take a non-legal position in the litigation support arm of a big firm. People expressed different opinions. LegalJob agrees with one commentator who advises the person to take the job and demonstrate his or her high level of competence with the chance to turn document review into depo prep, small hearings, etc. No guarantees of course but either is sitting at home waiting for e-mails to come in or phone to ring.
Be the exception to the rule! Immerse yourself in the environment, start producing top quality, and after demonstrating seriousness of purpose and some commitment, express your preference again to be considered for an associate position. As the commentator noted, assuming the person is a top performer, the licensed hourly support person who works unlimited overtime may be able to be hired as an associate at a lower cost. Then, the person has the big firm on the resume and has expanded his or her future options. Again, no guarantees but the downside risk (taking yourself out of the market for potential dream job while working in litigation support role) seems low compared to the potential opportunity.