Finding Purpose in Plaintiff-Side Work

Lee Rudy, partner at Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, has been seeing a clear generational shift in the way younger lawyers think about careers in the legal profession. Law school graduates are saying they are seeking a sense of purpose in their work, driven by social awareness and a desire to make a difference in the world. This next generation of attorneys is going over to plaintiff-side work instead of jobs in corporate law firms.

Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check primarily represents investors and consumers harmed by corporate malfeasance. Rudy has seen this trend of more recent law school graduates gravitating toward plaintiff’s work. Factors such as culture and more opportunities on the plaintiff’s side seem to be driving the trend. Some advantages he sees for recent graduates to pursue plaintiff’s work include:

Train to think Like a Partner

Cases on the plaintiff’s side secure value and reforms for investors and consumers who have been wronged, which aligns with young attorneys’ values and satisfies their desire to work for the public good. Plaintiffs firms are also not tethered to the billable hour in the way that many Big Law firms are, instead working on a contingent-fee basis. That means less time spent on document review and more hands-on experience crafting case strategy and contributing to high-level work.

High-Stakes Matters

Junior attorneys \are given the opportunity to go up against the best litigators in the world. Litigating at this high level also ensures that associates work on challenging, cutting-edge legal issues, and have a real opportunity to drive positive change in constantly developing areas of the law.

While life at a plaintiff-side firm is demanding on junior lawyers, law school graduates looking to launch meaningful careers in the law might find it more appealing than corporate law. 

Are you interested in more advice about working at a plaintiff’s firm?  Read more in this article.

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