East Coast Vs. West Coast  

"Considerations in Choosing a Firm and Practice Areas"

Harvard Law School Podcast | 02.25.16

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Looking for advice about making the move between the East Coast and West Coast as a law student or junior associate? Sean spoke with Sara Dana at Harvard Law School's Office of Career Services about what kind of firm you should start at, what areas of practice transfer well, what your daily practice looks like on either coast and more . 

 

 

What should law students be thinking about when picking a firm out of law school?

 

“Students and junior associates, more often than they used to, are thinking about exit opportunities. Most students nowadays, they’re not thinking about making partner, they’re thinking about if I go to this firm, how is it setting me up in my career for whatever my next move is, whether it’s making partner or going in-house.”

Sean Burke circle

 

What's the trajectory for if you want to come from an East Coast firm to West Coast in-house?

 

“It can be hard to switch straight from an East Coast top practice to West Coast in-house. A lot of the time those people are going to need to consider making a move to a West Coast law firm before they can make the move to go in-house.”

 

What areas of practice transfer well from the East Coast to the West Coast?

 

“Outside of M&A, if you’re doing things that are speciality practices that are more prevalent outside of New York, that’ll be helpful as well. Those would be software licensing agreements, outsourcing, privacy, trademark and copyright… things that are specialty IP practices that when you picture clients like Facebook or Google, attorneys with those skill sets out of New York might have more options when they move to the West Coast.”

 

Final advice?

 

“At the end of the day, what’s going to help your career the most is going to a place where there’s a great culture fit, where you’ve identified people that you think could be great mentors, where the firm is really good in the space that you’re interested in, and where the firm is representing the type of clients you want to go to. All those things are more important than the prestige of the firm and whether it’s considered a ‘top firm.’”

 

 



 

General Counsel @ Well-funded European Communications Tech

Go Abroad

Associate General Counsel @ B2B SaaS Tech Startup

The Sure Thing

M&A Counsel @ International Gaming Company

Ready Player One?

M&A Counsel @ Global Venture Capital Group

International Heavyweight

General Counsel @ BioTech & Pharmaceutical Startup

Build it yourself

Product Counsel @ Late Stage Software Startup

Appy Place

Corporate Counsel @ Post IPO "Unicorn"

Household Name D2C

Jr-Mid Associate @ Top Music & Entertainment Law Firm

Good Vibrations

Sr. Legal Counsel @ Valar

Major League VC

Associate General Counsel @ miR Scientific

Cutting Edge BioTech

General Counsel @ FinTech SaaS Startup

Go Digital

Sr. Capital Markets Counsel @ Pre-IPO Investment Platform

Lead the Way

VP of Legal @ E-Commerce Consumer Lending Platform

Add to Cart

CFIUS Compliance @ Elite Tech Client

More Glamorous than Government

Emerging Companies Associate @ Elite Startup-Focused Firm

Keep EC/VC Weird

In-House Digital Media Counsel @ Media Startup

Get Cultured

Big Money Job at a Cutting Edge Biotech

Drugs are Fun!

Futures Trading Compliance @ Crypto Trading Platform

The Brand Name in Crypto

Switch to FinTech from Finance @ AmLaw 100 Law Firm

FinTech Fix

Emerging Companies Capital Markets Associate @ Startups Focused Firm

Pivot to Cooler Clients

PE M&A Partner Day 1 @ Top Growth Equity Practice

Title & Platform - Walk in as Partner

Legal Counsel @ The Trevor Project (Nonprofit for LGBTQ Youth)

Make a Difference

Senior In-House Counsel @ Digital Health Leader

Not Your Grandma's Healthcare

In-House Commercial Transactions Attorney @ Digital Health Leader

Healthcare Meets Tech

In-House Life Science Corporate Counsel @ Pharmaceutical Company

Future of Pharma

Exclusive: ECVC Associate at Elite Firm's LA Office

Best Partner Opportunity in SoCal

In-House Corporate Counsel at Venture Fund

VC Meets FinTech

Startup & Media Associate @ Arts & Entertainment-Focused Boutique

Très Chic

Director of Business & Legal @ Media Streaming Company

Binge Worthy

Privacy Counsel @ International Gaming Company

The Next Big Thing in Gaming

IP & Tech Litigation opp at a Silicon Valley tech Firm

The Move Before You Go In House

Privacy Partner @ Bay Area AmLaw 50 Firm

Plug and Play

Biotech Late Stage/Cap Markets Partner

Use Your Expertise

Business & Legal Affairs @ AdTech Market Leader

Digital Giants

In-House FinTech Bankruptcy Counsel

Can bankruptcy lawyers go in-house? YES!

Senior In-house Counsel @ Edgy FinTech Shop

Global Platform

The Right Bankruptcy & Reorganization Practice For You

Restructuring Your Own Career

Legal Recruiter

New York or Los Angeles

 

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