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Articling at a big firm--chances to move to New York afterwards


JD incoming

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JD incoming
  • Law Student

Hi everyone,

I am currently summering with this firm and will article as well. My articling will be mostly litigation. So my question is how hard will it be to move to New York after articling? I heard that specially if you want to be a litigator the chances are not that good. 

I would really appreciate any insight on this 🙂

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ruthlessfox
  • Lawyer

It will probably be very difficult, but not impossible. Depends on your school, your grades, your connections, how vigorously you network, etc. Working at a Canadian big law firm by no means guarantees you any opportunities in NY, especially in litigation.

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chaboywb
  • Lawyer

Of the people I know who made the jump when the market was hot, they were all transactional. I'm sure it happens but you'll need to be an extremely strong candidate.

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boyo
  • Law Student

I think the most important thing here is what firm you'll be articling at. There are really only a couple of "big law" firms that have really great litigation teams (that aren't just support groups). From what I've seen, article at one of those shops and your chances will sky rocket.

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chaboywb
  • Lawyer
1 hour ago, boyo said:

There are really only a couple of "big law" firms that have really great litigation teams (that aren't just support groups).

Some of the bold statements that are made on this site really blow my mind...

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Mbu1
  • Law Student
7 hours ago, boyo said:

I think the most important thing here is what firm you'll be articling at. There are really only a couple of "big law" firms that have really great litigation teams (that aren't just support groups). From what I've seen, article at one of those shops and your chances will sky rocket.

Which big law firms are those? Thanks

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C_Terror
  • Lawyer

Honestly haven't heard of any litigators that moved down south tbh. I think one asked around and he would've had to go back to a first year associate or something (as a current second year) and it ended there. All have been transactional associates in my experience.

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Dood
  • Lawyer
12 hours ago, C_Terror said:

Honestly haven't heard of any litigators that moved down south tbh. I think one asked around and he would've had to go back to a first year associate or something (as a current second year) and it ended there. All have been transactional associates in my experience.


Yeah I was thinking that it’s doable, but you may be starting over in some ways - and not necessarily in NYC biglaw. It would likely help if you could land a local clerkship, but I know there are various citizenship requirements of sorts with federal clerkships due to procurement laws. 

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boyo
  • Law Student
On 6/5/2023 at 12:38 PM, chaboywb said:

Some of the bold statements that are made on this site really blow my mind...

You'd disagree that among the "big law" shops only a few have top notch litigation groups? I'm not talking about boutiques or smaller firms, I'm talking about the 150+ lawyers firms. It's not a bold statement at all.

On 6/5/2023 at 6:22 PM, Mbu1 said:

Which big law firms are those? Thanks

I've seen similar moves from McCarthys. That firm has always had a strong focus on litigation.

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chaboywb
  • Lawyer
39 minutes ago, boyo said:

You'd disagree that among the "big law" shops only a few have top notch litigation groups? I'm not talking about boutiques or smaller firms, I'm talking about the 150+ lawyers firms. It's not a bold statement at all.

Yes, I would disagree completely with that statement.

And yes, it is a bold statement. To suggest, as you did in your previous post, that only a couple (meaning two, or I guess one other than McCarthys) big law firms in Toronto have "really great" litigation groups is to disparage literally hundreds of lawyers, and is a statement that you are not qualified to make.

Edited by chaboywb
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boyo
  • Law Student
1 hour ago, chaboywb said:

Yes, I would disagree completely with that statement.

And yes, it is a bold statement. To suggest, as you did in your previous post, that only a couple (meaning two, or I guess one other than McCarthys) big law firms in Toronto have "really great" litigation groups is to disparage literally hundreds of lawyers, and is a statement that you are not qualified to make.

The statement is made in the context of the thread, which is transitioning to NY. No need to get all upset about the reality that it might be harder to transition to NY if you're not coming from one of the particular firms I’m talking about. All I suggested was that coming from one of those firms might help with the odds of that transition.

By no means have I commented on the abilities of other lawyers who don’t practice at those firms. Stop looking for insults where none are intended.

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AHappyLawyer
  • Lawyer

Honestly, save for like one person who moved during Covid, I've only seen it from Canadians who clerked (Tax Court, ONCA, SCC, FCA).

Corporate in the US cares more about whether you can grind and do transactions and have the right attitude/mindset.

Litigation in the US is much more focused on journal, prestige, your mental horsepower (top law school, grades, whatever). For the most part, no one in the US litigation world knows the difference between McCarthy's, Lenczner Slaight or any other litigation firm in Toronto, so do things that will impress US firms. 

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Scribbleergosum
  • Law Student

As someone currently practicing in litigation at a major US firm that occasionally hires Canadians, the above is the only correct take in this thread.  

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chaboywb
  • Lawyer
On 6/8/2023 at 11:23 PM, boyo said:

The statement is made in the context of the thread, which is transitioning to NY. No need to get all upset about the reality that it might be harder to transition to NY if you're not coming from one of the particular firms I’m talking about. All I suggested was that coming from one of those firms might help with the odds of that transition.

By no means have I commented on the abilities of other lawyers who don’t practice at those firms. Stop looking for insults where none are intended.

We are off track here, so I dont want to belabour the point too much. But you are blatantly twisting your own words. You said:

"There are really only a couple of "big law" firms that have really great litigation teams (that aren't just support groups)."

How can this be interpreted in any way except that all but two firms have less than "really great" litigation groups that are merely support groups?

I can appreciate what you're saying is in the context of moving to the States, but by saying there are only two firms you're deliberately putting those two on their own tier and demoting the rest. If you'd said "there are no firms that have a really great litigation group for the purposes of getting hired in the U.S.", sure.

I'm also very curious about your sample size to back up the assertion that if you "article at one of those shops and your chances will sky rocket", given the other comments in this thread. As if U.S. firms are champing at the bit to get the next McCarthys litigator. 

I have no horse in this race (second horse metaphor) as I'm not even a litigator and already agreed with others that moving south in litigation is very difficult. I'm just pointing out that it is undoubtedly bold for an articling student to make that claim that you made.

Edited by chaboywb
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  • 2 weeks later...
Huckleberry Winterkorn

I'm an articling student at a Canadian big-law firm interested in transactional work. Would writing the NY bar after articling increase the chances of getting hired by a NY firm? Or do firms hire first and allow you to write after?

Edited by Huckleberry Winterkorn
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NewJd5726
  • Law Student
19 minutes ago, Huckleberry Winterkorn said:

I'm an articling student at a Canadian big-law firm interested in transactional work. Would writing the NY bar after articling increase the chances of getting hired by a NY firm? Or do firms hire first and allow you to write after?

Definitely would not recommend writing the NY bar before you have a position as it's expensive and a hassle. Firms will let you write it after you receive an offer.

Even if writing the bar increased your chances of securing a position, which I'm doubtful that it would, odds of lateralling in the current market are so low that it's certainly not worth the investment to do so. Firms are deferring first-years and laying off juniors, I'd be very surprised if any were looking to hire juniors laterally anytime soon. 

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Chemistry124

Honestly, the ship has sailed for Canadian juniors to lateral to the States in mass numbers and won't come back until the next peak of the economic cycle. This basically happens once every decade (dot-com boom, pre-Great Recession, COVID).

There will always be consideration, if not outright demand, for skilled midlevels and seniors from other common law jurisdictions, but you won't see American firms snapping up articling students like they did a year or two ago when right now, some firms (especially tech-focused ones) are deferring entire (corporate) classes of incoming first years. And there's likely more announcements of deferrals to come. Some firms are likely withholding deferring news until this year's summers leave because they don't want to cause panic or reputation damage amongst their ranks.

Also, to the point of lit vs corp, there's basically no demand for Canadian lit attorneys unless they had high-end clerkships. There's just too much native demand for those spots from top American grads for US firms to consider recruiting foreign attorneys. The only non-corporate practice that I see consistent recruitment of foreign attorneys is international arbitration, and that is another whole kettle of fish. The foreign lawyers I see in that practice area are all super credentialed with much stronger language skills than your typical North America. Many of them lateraled with prior work experience too.

Edited by Chemistry124
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