Why I Pursued Big Law

Lawyer's office

While I recently left Big Law to start a startup, there is still some mystery as to how law students obtain Big Law positions. I wrote a lengthy Medium post on how to do this. But beyond the how is the why.

I initially pursued Big Law for several reasons. As a baseline, I wanted to work in private practice after graduation. I knew that Big Law would provide me with an opportunity to work on complicated legal issues with extremely qualified attorneys.

With that said, the reality is that some law students pursuing Big Law don’t exactly know what Big Law attorneys actually do. I recognized my unfamiliarity, yet knew that I wanted to work in an environment where I would be challenged and where I could grow as a young attorney.

Also, I’d be lying if I said that the compensation wasn’t a factor. It’s very difficult to turn down a chance to earn six figures out of law school. In reality, many people pursue Big Law so that they can have an easier time paying off their law school loans.

I was lucky that Penn has a robust on-campus recruiting program for rising 2Ls. For schools not in the Top 14, there are likely fewer opportunities to interview with Big Law firms. This is why it’s difficult for students at lower ranked schools to enter Big Law. You have to be at the top of your class to maximize your chances of obtaining interview slots.

Ultimately, I received an offer to become a summer associate at one of the largest Big Law firms in the world. I enjoyed working with the attorneys at my firm and felt that I would be comfortable working there after the summer program. Once I received an offer to become a full-time associate, I took it.