The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

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Should you be firm about your corp/lit preference, or flexible?

Commit.
15
50%
Hedge.
15
50%
 
Total votes: 30

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reasonable troll
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The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby reasonable troll » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:05 pm

A partner I spoke with said that she was unimpressed when students were unable to commit to one or the other during an interview, but TLS forums are full of people warning OCI hopefuls to hedge.

So what's better - expressing a fairly firm interest in Lit or Corp, or hedging with something like "Gee, I haven't had the chance to do any transactional work yet, but I'd really relish the opportunity to explore that side of the field at your firm"?

Firm-specific caveats welcome.

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El_Sol
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby El_Sol » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:12 pm

The partner is wrong.

Committing to litigation or corporate, as a rising 2L, without doing either, is not smart. Plus, firms want you to be flexible in case their need is corporate and you want lit, or vice versa.

ClarDarr
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby ClarDarr » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:19 pm

"Well, right now I'm leaning toward litigation. I feel like law school is best designed to give me a sense of what litigation is like, and the research and writing component of litigation is really what initially drove me to want to go to law school. That said, I think the positive sum nature of transactions work is pretty intriguing. I'd like to give that a shot this summer, too. I think I read that you encourage summers to take assignments in a variety of practice areas, is that true?"

I said this in (almost) every interview. I received offers from litigation focused firms and from transactionally focused firms. I never felt as though an interviewer questioned this answer. The question at the end I felt helped the interviewer (regardless of the department he or she was in) move beyond questioning my motives (if he/she did). I felt like this left me open to spending 2L deciding what I really wanted and the firms not feeling like I led them to believe on thing or another. This to me felt like a good middle ground between the hedge and the commit.

Anonymous User
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:30 pm

ClarDarr wrote:"Well, right now I'm leaning toward litigation. I feel like law school is best designed to give me a sense of what litigation is like, and the research and writing component of litigation is really what initially drove me to want to go to law school. That said, I think the positive sum nature of transactions work is pretty intriguing. I'd like to give that a shot this summer, too. I think I read that you encourage summers to take assignments in a variety of practice areas, is that true?"

I said this in (almost) every interview. I received offers from litigation focused firms and from transactionally focused firms. I never felt as though an interviewer questioned this answer. The question at the end I felt helped the interviewer (regardless of the department he or she was in) move beyond questioning my motives (if he/she did). I felt like this left me open to spending 2L deciding what I really wanted and the firms not feeling like I led them to believe on thing or another. This to me felt like a good middle ground between the hedge and the commit.


Stealing this. Hope you don't mind.

ClarDarr
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby ClarDarr » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ClarDarr wrote:"Well, right now I'm leaning toward litigation. I feel like law school is best designed to give me a sense of what litigation is like, and the research and writing component of litigation is really what initially drove me to want to go to law school. That said, I think the positive sum nature of transactions work is pretty intriguing. I'd like to give that a shot this summer, too. I think I read that you encourage summers to take assignments in a variety of practice areas, is that true?"

I said this in (almost) every interview. I received offers from litigation focused firms and from transactionally focused firms. I never felt as though an interviewer questioned this answer. The question at the end I felt helped the interviewer (regardless of the department he or she was in) move beyond questioning my motives (if he/she did). I felt like this left me open to spending 2L deciding what I really wanted and the firms not feeling like I led them to believe on thing or another. This to me felt like a good middle ground between the hedge and the commit.


Stealing this. Hope you don't mind.


I'm happy to pass along my scripted wisdom.

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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:35 pm

ClarDarr wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ClarDarr wrote:"Well, right now I'm leaning toward litigation. I feel like law school is best designed to give me a sense of what litigation is like, and the research and writing component of litigation is really what initially drove me to want to go to law school. That said, I think the positive sum nature of transactions work is pretty intriguing. I'd like to give that a shot this summer, too. I think I read that you encourage summers to take assignments in a variety of practice areas, is that true?"

I said this in (almost) every interview. I received offers from litigation focused firms and from transactionally focused firms. I never felt as though an interviewer questioned this answer. The question at the end I felt helped the interviewer (regardless of the department he or she was in) move beyond questioning my motives (if he/she did). I felt like this left me open to spending 2L deciding what I really wanted and the firms not feeling like I led them to believe on thing or another. This to me felt like a good middle ground between the hedge and the commit.


Stealing this. Hope you don't mind.


I'm happy to pass along my scripted wisdom.


:)

But they expect you to say something like this right? I mean 1L is basically all lit.

ClarDarr
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby ClarDarr » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ClarDarr wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ClarDarr wrote:"Well, right now I'm leaning toward litigation. I feel like law school is best designed to give me a sense of what litigation is like, and the research and writing component of litigation is really what initially drove me to want to go to law school. That said, I think the positive sum nature of transactions work is pretty intriguing. I'd like to give that a shot this summer, too. I think I read that you encourage summers to take assignments in a variety of practice areas, is that true?"

I said this in (almost) every interview. I received offers from litigation focused firms and from transactionally focused firms. I never felt as though an interviewer questioned this answer. The question at the end I felt helped the interviewer (regardless of the department he or she was in) move beyond questioning my motives (if he/she did). I felt like this left me open to spending 2L deciding what I really wanted and the firms not feeling like I led them to believe on thing or another. This to me felt like a good middle ground between the hedge and the commit.


Stealing this. Hope you don't mind.


I'm happy to pass along my scripted wisdom.


:)

But they expect you to say something like this right? I mean 1L is basically all lit.


Yeah. The good thing is, though, corporate guys and gals ALL agree that 1L is largely designed to make you want lit, and thus you build a little rapport with them. Yet, at the same time, it tells lit people that you've identified that what you do during 1L is similar to being an associate in a lit department.

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reasonable troll
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby reasonable troll » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:48 pm

ClarDarr wrote: Yeah. The good thing is, though, corporate guys and gals ALL agree that 1L is largely designed to make you want lit, and thus you build a little rapport with them. Yet, at the same time, it tells lit people that you've identified that what you do during 1L is similar to being an associate in a lit department.


So what about the opposite scenario then? Something like "Well I'm leaning corporate because the constructive nature of doing deals really appeals to me, but I've obviously had more experience with lit during my 1L year and Summer, and I find the research and analysis aspects gratifying as well. I think I read on your site... etc."

I do think I have an honest preference for corporate, but nothing on my resume substantiates that. Is the above safe to say or is it just better to say I lean lit and then hope I can do corporate instead? I should mention that I don't think I would hate lit, but I don't want to ding myself w/r/t corporate work.

ClarDarr
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby ClarDarr » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:53 pm

reasonable troll wrote:
ClarDarr wrote: Yeah. The good thing is, though, corporate guys and gals ALL agree that 1L is largely designed to make you want lit, and thus you build a little rapport with them. Yet, at the same time, it tells lit people that you've identified that what you do during 1L is similar to being an associate in a lit department.


So what about the opposite scenario then? Something like "Well I'm leaning corporate because the constructive nature of doing deals really appeals to me, but I've obviously had more experience with lit during my 1L year and Summer, and I find the research and analysis aspects gratifying as well. I think I read on your site... etc."

I do think I have an honest preference for corporate, but nothing on my resume substantiates that. Is the above safe to say or is it just better to say I lean lit and then hope I can do corporate instead? I should mention that I don't think I would hate lit, but I don't want to ding myself w/r/t corporate work.


I think your phrasing would be wonderful.

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reasonable troll
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby reasonable troll » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:59 pm

ClarDarr wrote:I think your phrasing would be wonderful.


I like your use of adjectives. How much would it cost to get you to come tell me how wonderful I am during the post-callback, pre-offer stage? :lol:

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jessuf
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby jessuf » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:02 pm

ClarDarr wrote:"Well, right now I'm leaning toward litigation. I feel like law school is best designed to give me a sense of what litigation is like, and the research and writing component of litigation is really what initially drove me to want to go to law school. That said, I think the positive sum nature of transactions work is pretty intriguing. I'd like to give that a shot this summer, too. I think I read that you encourage summers to take assignments in a variety of practice areas, is that true?"


This is really similar what I've been saying. I also said I was going to explore transactional work more 2L year by taking x, y, and z classes. The corporate guys seemed to like it.

ClarDarr
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby ClarDarr » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:07 pm

reasonable troll wrote:
ClarDarr wrote:I think your phrasing would be wonderful.


I like your use of adjectives. How much would it cost to get you to come tell me how wonderful I am during the post-callback, pre-offer stage? :lol:


Given you won't have an offer, I can take you on pro bono.

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Ikki
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby Ikki » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:08 pm

Might be a bit off-topic, but I don't get the "corporate or litigation" divide. Shouldn't it be "transactional v. litigation?" Saying corporate when one means transactional just sounds off.

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reasonable troll
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby reasonable troll » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:10 pm

ClarDarr wrote:
reasonable troll wrote:
ClarDarr wrote:I think your phrasing would be wonderful.


I like your use of adjectives. How much would it cost to get you to come tell me how wonderful I am during the post-callback, pre-offer stage? :lol:


Given you won't have an offer, I can take you on pro bono.


You are a credit to this profession.

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reasonable troll
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby reasonable troll » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:12 pm

Ikki wrote:Might be a bit off-topic, but I don't get the "corporate or litigation" divide. Shouldn't it be "transactional v. litigation?" Saying corporate when one means transactional just sounds off.


I certainly mean transactional work when I say corporate. I was under the impression that the terms are used sort of interchangeably in this context, but I could be wrong. I do agree though that its a misnomer, as one could do corporate litigation just as one could do corporate transactions.

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Ikki
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby Ikki » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:15 pm

reasonable troll wrote:
Ikki wrote:Might be a bit off-topic, but I don't get the "corporate or litigation" divide. Shouldn't it be "transactional v. litigation?" Saying corporate when one means transactional just sounds off.


I certainly mean transactional work when I say corporate. I was under the impression that the terms are used sort of interchangeably in this context, but I could be wrong. I do agree though that its a misnomer, as one could do corporate litigation just as one could do corporate transactions.


That's what I meant. I did a mock-interview with a V10 senior associate and when he asked me that question he said corporate and quickly corrected himself and said transactional. This is probably no big deal but just wanted to point out that some might think it's a misnomer.

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reasonable troll
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby reasonable troll » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:16 pm

So "Commit" seems to be pulling ahead. I guess I should have defined the options more precisely to get a more precise answer, but is that coming from people who agree with ClarDarr's sort of soft commitment, or ghosts who think that articulating an even more definite preference is in order?

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jessuf
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby jessuf » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:23 pm

reasonable troll wrote:
Ikki wrote:Might be a bit off-topic, but I don't get the "corporate or litigation" divide. Shouldn't it be "transactional v. litigation?" Saying corporate when one means transactional just sounds off.


I certainly mean transactional work when I say corporate. I was under the impression that the terms are used sort of interchangeably in this context, but I could be wrong. I do agree though that its a misnomer, as one could do corporate litigation just as one could do corporate transactions.


From the partners I've spoken with, corporate always means transactional. Litigation is litigation but can be further broken down e.g. commercial litigation.

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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:51 pm

Interesting thread. So the consensus seems to be "stay flexible." Cool. What about in cover letters? Should I say I have an interest in your corporate practice areas, specifically X,Y,Z? Or just say general corporate? Or say nothing about practice areas at all?

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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:00 pm

El_Sol wrote:The partner is wrong.

Committing to litigation or corporate, as a rising 2L, without doing either, is not smart. Plus, firms want you to be flexible in case their need is corporate and you want lit, or vice versa.


Some firms require you to commit at the interview stage -- most famously, Cravath.

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reasonable troll
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby reasonable troll » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Interesting thread. So the consensus seems to be "stay flexible." Cool. What about in cover letters? Should I say I have an interest in your corporate practice areas, specifically X,Y,Z? Or just say general corporate? Or say nothing about practice areas at all?


+1, wondering this as well

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reasonable troll
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby reasonable troll » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
El_Sol wrote:The partner is wrong.

Committing to litigation or corporate, as a rising 2L, without doing either, is not smart. Plus, firms want you to be flexible in case their need is corporate and you want lit, or vice versa.


Some firms require you to commit at the interview stage -- most famously, Cravath.



lol Cravath has never heard of Hastings, but thanks on behalf of those for whom that particular firm might be a legitimate prospect.

are there any others that you know of that do this? if so, do they make it explicitly known, or do they just drop the question and ding you if you don't know to commit?

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drmguy
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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby drmguy » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:22 pm

I am very interested in answers to this.

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Re: The "Corporate or Litigation?" Question

Postby alabamabound » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:22 pm

reasonable troll wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
El_Sol wrote:The partner is wrong.

Committing to litigation or corporate, as a rising 2L, without doing either, is not smart. Plus, firms want you to be flexible in case their need is corporate and you want lit, or vice versa.


Some firms require you to commit at the interview stage -- most famously, Cravath.



lol Cravath has never heard of Hastings, but thanks on behalf of those for whom that particular firm might be a legitimate prospect.

are there any others that you know of that do this? if so, do they make it explicitly known, or do they just drop the question and ding you if you don't know to commit?


In Chicago, MWE makes you commit to a group at the interview stage. Also, "hedge" is not TCR. If you're genuinely on the fence, be honest about that. If you're not on the fence, say so.




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