For junior associates like me, pitch development is an under-appreciated but critical part of legal work. Pitches require the entire team to be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the legal issues of a case and present that knowledge in a succinct form. Pitches also typically have a quick turnaround time from beginning the project to finalizing presentations, so pitch development is a great way to gain experience working under pressure in a form that might be less daunting than billable work.
For me, a pitch begins with legal research into the issues of a case. Clients typically look for the fastest way to resolve their cases, so research usually focuses on motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment. This focus provides the means to expand proficiency with these types of motions, as sometimes juniors are not onboarded into cases until it is clear these motions will not succeed. Often these pitches present legal issues I am not familiar with, so I have to quickly gain a basic understanding of how cases work in a particular legal field. It is a very exciting and stimulating way of gaining an understanding of new types of work without having to get bogged down in too many procedural complications.
Aside from research, pitch work also presents the opportunity to put junior associates on the radar of other associates and partners we juniors may not typically work with. The fast-paced nature of pitch work presents an opportunity for us to show we are able to meet tight deadlines, complete thorough research in a short period of time, and turn in great work product while working under pressure. The more-senior lawyers are usually very appreciative of the effort that goes into pitches, so it is a great chance for junior associates like me to expand our network and make a good impression on people who can help us in the development of our careers.
Written by Dave Bujarski, Associate Winston & Strawn, LLP