Environmental Background, but want big law

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Environmental Background, but want big law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:06 pm

I have a pretty heavy enviro background (undergrad major, internships, and ELS member), but want to do big law transactional work. What is the best way to approach this inevitable question in interviews? Top third at t10, not shooting for the coasts.

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Re: Environmental Background, but want big law

Postby monkey85 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:19 pm

It's not really an issue. There are music majors and ex-NFL linebackers in my SA class - it makes no difference what your undergrad and personal interests are/were.

Just explain what you like about transactional work. If they ask "Why not environmental?," don't see it as a threat and become defensive, just give some simple and plausible answer. They really don't care as long as you can work hard, bill clients, and make the firm money.

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Re: Environmental Background, but want big law

Postby beachbum » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:34 pm

Fellow rising 2L here, but as far as I can tell, the best way to sell an interest in transactional work (assuming no/little background in business/finance) is with knowledge. That is, because law school is so heavily focused on litigation, you can demonstrate a lot of interest in transactional work just by proving to the interviewer that you have some sort of idea what you're talking about.

So read all the practice area guides (Chambers, Official Guide to Legal Specialties, TLS guides, etc.). Keep up with financial/deal news (WSJ, Dealbook, even Dealbreaker can be useful). Talk to corporate attorneys. Books can also be great conversation starters, and can give you a glimpse into finance/Wall Street (Liar's Poker, Barbarians at the Gate, The Big Short, etc.).

In sum, be able to speak intelligently about what corporate associates do (generally), and know the big differences between practice areas. Be up-to-date on big financial happenings, and be able to speak about major trends and events in the market. Basically, know your shit.

Otherwise, did you get involved in your business law society? Does your summer job apply to biglaw/transactional at all? Your grades should certainly help you, too, though "not shooting for the coasts" is going to limit your exposure to transactional opportunities (as the vast majority of that type of work is centered in NYC).

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