Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

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PwnLaw
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Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:45 pm

I can answer questions on:

- BigLaw Recruitment

- Being an Associate at a large firm

- Entertainment/Video Game Law

- Start-Up Life

- Making the transition from private firm to in-house

Other topics too I'm sure. Been a while since I answered questions here. Kind of bored. :D

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ph14
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Question

Postby ph14 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:46 pm

PwnLaw wrote:I can answer questions on:

- BigLaw Recruitment

- Being an Associate at a large firm

- Entertainment/Video Game Law

- Start-Up Life

- Making the transition from private firm to in-house

Other topics too I'm sure. Been a while since I answered questions here. Kind of bored. :D


School, class rank, LR, etc.

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:47 pm

Top 14. Top 1/3. Didn't bother applying for journals.

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dailygrind
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby dailygrind » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:51 pm

Any jobs you held in the interim between biglaw and start-up exec?

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:53 pm

dailygrind wrote:Any jobs you held in the interim between biglaw and start-up exec?


No. I developed close relationships with a number of start-ups and when I expressed an interest in leaving a pure legal role, I was offered an opportunity I was excited about. I like early stage stuff where I can do blended jobs (legal, business development, OPs, etc.)

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johansantana21
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby johansantana21 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:54 pm

Where about in the T14? Also when did you get your biglaw job pre 2008?

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NoleinNY
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby NoleinNY » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:55 pm

1. East coast or west coast?

2. How did you make the transition from Big Law to start-up executive?

3. How does this relate to video game law?

4. Can I have your life?

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:56 pm

johansantana21 wrote:Where about in the T14? Also when did you get your biglaw job pre 2008?


MVP.

Yes. I was during the tail end of the good times. I feel pretty terrible about what happened to my friends a few years below me. Lots of my classmates were crushed by layoffs. It was pretty ugly even for the people that made the cut.

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:59 pm

NoleinNY wrote:1. East coast or west coast?

2. How did you make the transition from Big Law to start-up executive?

3. How does this relate to video game law?

4. Can I have your life?


West Coast is where it's at for consumer tech start-ups.

I spent an enormous amount of time networking in the industry I was interested in (video games). Over time I developed a strong reptutation which I leveraged into making the transition. I was in a large firm for about 3 years. It was actually pretty fun.

This relates to video games because I work at a video game start-up and my prior role as an associate focused primarily on working with interactive entertainment clients.

I'm sure there's room for more people like me. :D

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dailygrind
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby dailygrind » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:01 pm

How do you see things playing out for your career in the future? Being part of a start-up sounds extraordinarily exciting, but it seems pretty risky as well. If things go south, do you think you're still building general skills that would make you attractive to another inhouse or firm opportunity? Thanks for taking questions btw; the insight's very appreciated.

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:01 pm

Gonna grab some grub. Leave questions and I'll answer them in ~20.

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NoleinNY
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby NoleinNY » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:02 pm

PwnLaw wrote:
NoleinNY wrote:1. East coast or west coast?

2. How did you make the transition from Big Law to start-up executive?

3. How does this relate to video game law?

4. Can I have your life?


West Coast is where it's at for consumer tech start-ups.

I spent an enormous amount of time networking in the industry I was interested in (video games). Over time I developed a strong reptutation which I leveraged into making the transition. I was in a large firm for about 3 years. It was actually pretty fun.

This relates to video games because I work at a video game start-up and my prior role as an associate focused primarily on working with interactive entertainment clients.

I'm sure there's room for more people like me. :D


Thanks for the response! Just curious, were you in a litigation or transactional department while in your firm?

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Bronte
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby Bronte » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:04 pm

What industry is the company in? Entertainment/video games? Can you be more specific, and give more details of how you developed the relationships necessary to transition there?

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:05 pm

dailygrind wrote:How do you see things playing out for your career in the future? Being part of a start-up sounds extraordinarily exciting, but it seems pretty risky as well. If things go south, do you think you're still building general skills that would make you attractive to another inhouse or firm opportunity? Thanks for taking questions btw; the insight's very appreciated.


I plan on hopping between start-ups indefinitely. I'll probably take a shot at starting my own a few times (depending on circumstances).

Start-ups are far far far more volatile as a profession. Particularly at the size I want to work with (5-20 people). It doesn't bother me so long as I maintain a strong network (a mix of CEOs, VCs, GCs and BizDev folks) and have a reputation for creating value for my prior companies. I cannot stress how important reputation and network is in a small community like Silicon Valley (or entertainment). It has been very easy for me to find jobs when I've wanted to but I have had a hard time trying to hook my friends up.

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bk1
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby bk1 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:06 pm

Did you have any pre-law creds that helped you get into the industry you're in now?

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:07 pm

NoleinNY wrote:
PwnLaw wrote:
NoleinNY wrote:1. East coast or west coast?

2. How did you make the transition from Big Law to start-up executive?

3. How does this relate to video game law?

4. Can I have your life?


West Coast is where it's at for consumer tech start-ups.

I spent an enormous amount of time networking in the industry I was interested in (video games). Over time I developed a strong reptutation which I leveraged into making the transition. I was in a large firm for about 3 years. It was actually pretty fun.

This relates to video games because I work at a video game start-up and my prior role as an associate focused primarily on working with interactive entertainment clients.

I'm sure there's room for more people like me. :D


Thanks for the response! Just curious, were you in a litigation or transactional department while in your firm?


I started in entertainment litigation. About 6-7 months in I started to pick up transactional work. By the end of my time at the firm, I was 75% transactional, 25% litigation. My mix was atypical in the firm. It was due in large part to the fact that I had a number of clients that wanted transactional work and I wanted to service those clients. The firm was happy with the arrangement since I was generating revenue.

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:08 pm

Ok. GOTTA grab food. Starving. I'll answer built up questions when I get back.

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:36 pm

bk1 wrote:Did you have any pre-law creds that helped you get into the industry you're in now?


I have secured some highly suspect carne asada. It's go time.

No pre-law credentials. I think they would have helped initially, but social/mobile games were just taking off so there weren't any real "experts" to compete with. My access to numerous companies in the space allowed me to build a knowledge base very quickly, which in turn allowed me to be a lot more effective in networking and creating value for clients.

For some industries, like defense contracting, I think prior credentials probably couldn't hurt. Frankly, most people don't look at lawyers as having much intelligent to say with respect to their business (outside of exposure management) so credentials unrelated to law don't move the needle much. Strong exceptions for things like patent law though.

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:44 pm

Bronte wrote:What industry is the company in? Entertainment/video games? Can you be more specific, and give more details of how you developed the relationships necessary to transition there?


Social/Mobile game development. It's a content play, which is a bit more risky, but A LOT more fun than the platform stuff. :D

So here is the process of building my network:

Day 1, decide I want to work with interactive entertainment people. Come to conclusion I should try to meet one.

Day 2-70. Read everything I can get my hands on so I can at least appear to be informed. In this case I read all of the daily trades (GamesIndustry.Biz, Gamasutra, IndustryGamers, Kotaku, TheEscapist), all of the 10Qs and 10Ks filed with the SEC by publicly traded video game companies (THQ, ATVI, ERTS, etc.). Buy basic primers on the industry and game development/design, read those. Listen in on all analyst calls. I still do this today. I spent a bunch of time reading translations of Chinese and Japanese filing earlier this week.

Day 71+. Begin talking to anyone and everyone related to the industry. I'd take Quality Assurance guys out. Customer Service reps. It didn't matter. I'd talk to the analysts that followed the industry , I'd talk to the journalists that reported on it, I'd track down people that left comments I thought were insightful on blogs. I would call people out of the blue. I'd send them messages on LinkedIn. My only real goal was to establish a connection, determine if there is something I could help them with (legal or non-legal), and just listen to their experiences in the industry. Over time my network evolved until I was talking mostly to CEOs and other Execs. Once I had developed a repoire with them, it was easy to make the transition because they make the hiring decision.

UCLAtransfer
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby UCLAtransfer » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:46 pm

PwnLaw wrote:I started in entertainment litigation. About 6-7 months in I started to pick up transactional work. By the end of my time at the firm, I was 75% transactional, 25% litigation. My mix was atypical in the firm. It was due in large part to the fact that I had a number of clients that wanted transactional work and I wanted to service those clients. The firm was happy with the arrangement since I was generating revenue.


Can you explain a bit more about how you had your own clients so early on, and what it was like as an associate bringing in business?

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:52 pm

UCLAtransfer wrote:
PwnLaw wrote:I started in entertainment litigation. About 6-7 months in I started to pick up transactional work. By the end of my time at the firm, I was 75% transactional, 25% litigation. My mix was atypical in the firm. It was due in large part to the fact that I had a number of clients that wanted transactional work and I wanted to service those clients. The firm was happy with the arrangement since I was generating revenue.


Can you explain a bit more about how you had your own clients so early on, and what it was like as an associate bringing in business?


Most people select their lawyers on the basis of personal relationship or firm reputation. I spent a lot of time building personal relationships with people who directed legal expenses, was extremely knowledgeable about the industry (for a lawyer at least), and I had a credible firm structure behind me. I never really went out "looking" for business, but as I got to know people and helped them out in other ways, the legal work started flowing.

My early clients weren't super impressive (but I loved them). Small developers. 5k and 15k projects. Over time I brought in larger and more prominent clients. I had a pretty strong book of business when I rolled out.

Anonymous User
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:06 am

what made you leave biglaw? Anything you hated or loved in particular?

PwnLaw
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby PwnLaw » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:what made you leave biglaw? Anything you hated or loved in particular?


A bit of grass is always greener. A strong desire to actually create something rather than assist others in doing so. Realization that I enjoyed business development more than pure legal.

Loved: Resources available to me. The people I worked with. Salary I suppose. Being a special butterfly with support from the top of the firm.

Hated: Billable hour and the incentives it creates. Dealing with attorneys that are unnecessarily detail-oriented. The general lack of business sense present in law firms. The knowledge that all of my friends were likely to leave the firm (in one way or another).

Anonymous User
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:24 pm

What's your perception of leaving / being pushed out?

c3pO4
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Re: Was BigLaw Associate, Now Start-Up Exec. Answering Questions

Postby c3pO4 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:37 pm

Do you miss having multiple clients? Would you go back to biglaw?




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