SV Mid Level Taking Questions

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SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:41 pm

Will share my insight/opinons. Mid level at a valley firm have friends at some of the others. Transactional attorney. Typing from mobile so insert general disclaimer re typos and brevity.

-Series Anon

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Will share my insight/opinons. Mid level at a valley firm have friends at some of the others. Transactional attorney. Typing from mobile so insert general disclaimer re typos and brevity.

-Series Anon


How difficult is it to lateral as a junior or mid-level into one of the SV firms like WSGR, Fenwick, or Gunderson if you're coming from a big NYC firm like S&C or Cravath? What if you're coming from a firm in the Bay Area like GDC that doesn't do much of the VC type work?

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:46 pm

(1) Aside from Wilson/Cooley/Gunderson/Fenwick, what are law firms do you think do good VC/Startup work?

(2) How do you think SV law firms handle the ups and downs of tech-related legal work? Do you think they've learned from the dotcom boom + financial crisis or do you think that they'll scale up and down as necessary?

(3) What is your opinion on SV law firms taking equity stakes in the startups that they work for?

(4) Is startup/VC related corporate work really any different from other corporate work? In other words, if I came from a capital markets or M&A practice in another city, could I lateral into an SV law firm? I often hear people talk about how transactional lawyers outside of West Coast "just don't get it" re: startups/tech clients/etc.

Thanks!

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:52 pm

What are partnership prospects like at a fenwick, Cooley, wsgr?

Assuming partnership is impossible, how hard to lateral into a senior position at an emerging company? Perhaps into biz dev? Or venture capital?

How is the business outlook looking in the short, medium, and long term? Dotcom bust 2.0?

Thinking of lateraling from a v10, but don't want to kill my career for something that turns out to be a fad.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Will share my insight/opinons. Mid level at a valley firm have friends at some of the others. Transactional attorney. Typing from mobile so insert general disclaimer re typos and brevity.

-Series Anon


How difficult is it to lateral as a junior or mid-level into one of the SV firms like WSGR, Fenwick, or Gunderson if you're coming from a big NYC firm like S&C or Cravath? What if you're coming from a firm in the Bay Area like GDC that doesn't do much of the VC type work?



adding to this.. what if you're planning to lateral from just a V100 as a junior or midlevel associate? does the prospect change if you're doing IP litigation?

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Will share my insight/opinons. Mid level at a valley firm have friends at some of the others. Transactional attorney. Typing from mobile so insert general disclaimer re typos and brevity.

-Series Anon


How difficult is it to lateral as a junior or mid-level into one of the SV firms like WSGR, Fenwick, or Gunderson if you're coming from a big NYC firm like S&C or Cravath? What if you're coming from a firm in the Bay Area like GDC that doesn't do much of the VC type work?


If there is demand for laterals, SV firms tend to look very favorably on laterals from NY offices of big NYC firms such as those you mentioned. Coming from another firm in the Bay area would not be a bar, but as an interviewer I'd definitely try to understand the real reason for the desire to lateral (from NYC to Bay the change in geography makes sense). If the candidate has done substantive transactional work at the previous firm and is motivated, they can pick up the work.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Will share my insight/opinons. Mid level at a valley firm have friends at some of the others. Transactional attorney. Typing from mobile so insert general disclaimer re typos and brevity.

-Series Anon


How difficult is it to lateral as a junior or mid-level into one of the SV firms like WSGR, Fenwick, or Gunderson if you're coming from a big NYC firm like S&C or Cravath? What if you're coming from a firm in the Bay Area like GDC that doesn't do much of the VC type work?



adding to this.. what if you're planning to lateral from just a V100 as a junior or midlevel associate? does the prospect change if you're doing IP litigation?


"Just a V100" may be tougher to get in. Although the SV firms are not highly ranked vault wise, they tend to favor candidates from firms that are highly regarded in their market. The SV firms are highly regarded in the SV market. Since vault reflects perception within NYC market then it could be tougher from a firm not as highly regarded in the NYC market.

Sorry, no clue on how it works for litigation.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Will share my insight/opinons. Mid level at a valley firm have friends at some of the others. Transactional attorney. Typing from mobile so insert general disclaimer re typos and brevity.

-Series Anon


How difficult is it to lateral as a junior or mid-level into one of the SV firms like WSGR, Fenwick, or Gunderson if you're coming from a big NYC firm like S&C or Cravath? What if you're coming from a firm in the Bay Area like GDC that doesn't do much of the VC type work?


If there is demand for laterals, SV firms tend to look very favorably on laterals from NY offices of big NYC firms such as those you mentioned. Coming from another firm in the Bay area would not be a bar, but as an interviewer I'd definitely try to understand the real reason for the desire to lateral (from NYC to Bay the change in geography makes sense). If the candidate has done substantive transactional work at the previous firm and is motivated, they can pick up the work.


What do you mean "pick up the work?" Is there the chance to work with startups/VC-type stuff at a typical firm in the SF Bay?

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(1) Aside from Wilson/Cooley/Gunderson/Fenwick, what are law firms do you think do good VC/Startup work?

(2) How do you think SV law firms handle the ups and downs of tech-related legal work? Do you think they've learned from the dotcom boom + financial crisis or do you think that they'll scale up and down as necessary?

(3) What is your opinion on SV law firms taking equity stakes in the startups that they work for?

(4) Is startup/VC related corporate work really any different from other corporate work? In other words, if I came from a capital markets or M&A practice in another city, could I lateral into an SV law firm? I often hear people talk about how transactional lawyers outside of West Coast "just don't get it" re: startups/tech clients/etc.

Thanks!


1. Goodwin, Orrick. Others do some but if I'm working across from these 2 or the 4 SV firms I'm less likely to get silly questions that are based on lack of experience.

2. I think the SV firms learned from the dotcom boom not to scale up as much and that the good times never last for ever. I think you won't see dotcom boom scaling up unless you see another irrational dotcom like market. That being said the area is dependent on tech. If tech crashes then the whole area will suffer quite a bit. My sense is you'd still see some scaling down if things go bad. Tech didn't hurt as much in the most recent financial crisis so hard to say if anything was learned there.

3. Its normal out here to spread the equity around some (advisors, incubators, etc) so it doesn't strike me as odd. I can see that attorneys in other markets may see it differently but everyone out here takes a lot of credit risk with start ups since such a large % fail and some will have unpaid legal bills when they do.

4. Working with start up companies is different than working with other companies that I suspect hire the big law firms in other markets. The avg start up company may not have any in-house attorneys. Things are messier. Founders/execs may be less experienced in running a company or working with attorneys than in execs in other markets. Attorneys in SV must be better at explaining legal issues to non-attorney clients and working closely with the client to make sure everything is in order. The companies notice legal costs more than a Fortune 500 client so managing what needs to be done now vs. what can wait is key. Tech clients may do more DIY before calling an attorney. Never a dull moment. Even doing an IPO with 400 stockholders (current/former employees) can be a different challenge than doing an offering with <20 holders. You could lateral from another market, the securities law/M&A knowledge will be useful but you'd have to adjust to a different client type not just different industry.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:What are partnership prospects like at a fenwick, Cooley, wsgr?

Assuming partnership is impossible, how hard to lateral into a senior position at an emerging company? Perhaps into biz dev? Or venture capital?

How is the business outlook looking in the short, medium, and long term? Dotcom bust 2.0?

Thinking of lateraling from a v10, but don't want to kill my career for something that turns out to be a fad.


From what I've seen making partner is pretty tough. It does happen thought - for a small number of people, seemingly tied to economy. Also, SV tech is a dynamic industry with different companies rising and falling. I think it makes the ability to drum up new business from new upcoming potential "good" companies important.

First law type that emerging companies tend to hire is a commercial transaction attorney, ideally senior. If you go this route I get the sense that there is a decent amount of demand for these attorneys and they may get in the door earlier (lower option strike price). The companies that are looking to go forward as a public company, will typically hire a GC who may have been a GC at a different company first, then gradually build out the legal time as IPO gets closer. Not sure how many M&A/Cap Markets/Gen Corp attorneys a private company actually needs if it is not on a track to go IPO.

I've seen some biz dev type laterals but hard to say that I've seen it often, could happen I guess. re: VCs seen mostly attorneys going to attorneys in house in VC not into VC associate.

Short term - its busy still. Med term not sure if capital will be as free flowing as we have seen over last few years or if given recent disappointing performance of FB, Zynga, Groupon etc what the cap markets exits will look like. Those are 2 of the key legal fee generators for the area and without them firms could have less than stellar results. Long term - your guess is as good as mine.

Honestly coming to SV has some risk but that's the nature of the area - ppl take risks.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Will share my insight/opinons. Mid level at a valley firm have friends at some of the others. Transactional attorney. Typing from mobile so insert general disclaimer re typos and brevity.

-Series Anon


How difficult is it to lateral as a junior or mid-level into one of the SV firms like WSGR, Fenwick, or Gunderson if you're coming from a big NYC firm like S&C or Cravath? What if you're coming from a firm in the Bay Area like GDC that doesn't do much of the VC type work?


If there is demand for laterals, SV firms tend to look very favorably on laterals from NY offices of big NYC firms such as those you mentioned. Coming from another firm in the Bay area would not be a bar, but as an interviewer I'd definitely try to understand the real reason for the desire to lateral (from NYC to Bay the change in geography makes sense). If the candidate has done substantive transactional work at the previous firm and is motivated, they can pick up the work.


What do you mean "pick up the work?" Is there the chance to work with startups/VC-type stuff at a typical firm in the SF Bay?


Pick up the work just meaning understanding and being able to function at a comparable level to others near your class year. Yes many of the firms out here have some startups/VC type work but the deal flow may be lower and other firms may have a more diversified client base with more non-tech. Not necessarily a bad thing if you want to hedge against a potential tech slowdown.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:23 am

What are exit options like for doing VC/startup work? Do they tend to be in-house at tech companies, or do people go to funds? Any other common landing spots?

Thanks!

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:35 am

If you replied to my post earlier, please disregard. But any opinions on Ropes & Gray in SV? Really liked the people there and I just want to double check and see if there is anything else I should know. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:20 am

Any thoughts on doing emerging company transactional work in NYC? It's obviously much smaller than the valley and only a couple firms do it here, but seems like it might take off.

I'm considering doing this over V5 NY firms. Do you think it's smarter to do a couple years at say Cravath, then try to lateral? Do you think it's harder to lateral in than to start out at one of these firms?

Thanks so much.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:54 am

What's your take on some of the SV offices of outside firms, specifically firms like Simpson/Skadden/Davis Polk/Gibson Dunn? Are they good places to start a career? I know they don't really do VC/Emerging company work, which is fine with me, but do they play second fiddle to the indigenous firms within the valley? Talking corporate side. Thanks!

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What's your take on some of the SV offices of outside firms, specifically firms like Simpson/Skadden/Davis Polk/Gibson Dunn? Are they good places to start a career? I know they don't really do VC/Emerging company work, which is fine with me, but do they play second fiddle to the indigenous firms within the valley? Talking corporate side. Thanks!


I don't see some of the outside firms as much but that could just be my experiences. Keep in mine SV firms focus on tech so it could be that some of those other firms have great practices and great work just maybe less in tech. Some like Latham and Davis Polk have significant roles. Davis Polk Menlo is very strong in U/W representation in tech IPOs. Also you should consider how important those are within each firm since that can have an impact on your career - if its a obscure regional office your bosses may not have any power.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any thoughts on doing emerging company transactional work in NYC? It's obviously much smaller than the valley and only a couple firms do it here, but seems like it might take off.

I'm considering doing this over V5 NY firms. Do you think it's smarter to do a couple years at say Cravath, then try to lateral? Do you think it's harder to lateral in than to start out at one of these firms?

Thanks so much.


I get sense that emerging company work in NYC is still not taking hold enough yet. Monitor IPO/significant M&A market for NYC tech. If you don't have exits, then its not sustainable and the legal fees won't be there. Even if you are at a firm doing some of it, if its not generating fees then relative importance in a firm will suffer. In my book its always good to be on the team/in the office bringing the firm significant revenue.

Can't imagine a firm holding a few years at Cravath against you. Smarter depends on what you want. If the firms need to hire when you want to lateral, you'd be a good candidate coming from a V5 firm.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:56 am

Thanks for answering these questions.

You had touched a little about this earlier, but what practice areas would be easiest for a NY V10 associate to lateral into one of the native valley firms after a few years to do emerging company work? Banking/Finance? M&A? Capital Markets? or something else...

Would one be able to lateral from one of these more NY-style practice areas to a valley firm AND be able to focus on emerging companies work especially with early stage start-ups (I was under the impression that even if you lateral in, the valley firms might want you to work with bigger public companies given your prior experience). Also what would be the ideal time to lateral over - a couple of years in or 3-4 years? It is my understanding that since startup companies get billed at lower rates, they might not want a more senior attorneys to work with them but at the same time, one might not have enough substantive experience after a couple of years at one of the big New York law firms to be able to lateral?

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:18 pm

Any thoughts on Orrick's Emerging Companies practice?

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:02 pm

Did a callback at Orrick (SF) and sensed they are seriously hurting for work. Any rumors?

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:Did a callback at Orrick (SF) and sensed they are seriously hurting for work. Any rumors?


Haven't heard anything about their current work flow but FWIW head hunters are still calling with Orrick SV opportunities.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:Any thoughts on Orrick's Emerging Companies practice?


Orrick's emerging company practice seems to be pretty good. One of the better non SV centered firms.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:What are exit options like for doing VC/startup work? Do they tend to be in-house at tech companies, or do people go to funds? Any other common landing spots?

Thanks!


In house at tech companies is most common. There are fewer fund spots than you might think since funds aren't as likely to expand their legal departments as a growing technology company. But I guess a few of those open up here and there.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:If you replied to my post earlier, please disregard. But any opinions on Ropes & Gray in SV? Really liked the people there and I just want to double check and see if there is anything else I should know. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.


I haven't heard anything negative about Ropes and Gray in SV. I don't think think their corporate in SV is especially huge so I have only seem them (SV office) on a few deals. May be just a function of their size down here.

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Re: SV Mid Level Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for answering these questions.

You had touched a little about this earlier, but what practice areas would be easiest for a NY V10 associate to lateral into one of the native valley firms after a few years to do emerging company work? Banking/Finance? M&A? Capital Markets? or something else...

Would one be able to lateral from one of these more NY-style practice areas to a valley firm AND be able to focus on emerging companies work especially with early stage start-ups (I was under the impression that even if you lateral in, the valley firms might want you to work with bigger public companies given your prior experience). Also what would be the ideal time to lateral over - a couple of years in or 3-4 years? It is my understanding that since startup companies get billed at lower rates, they might not want a more senior attorneys to work with them but at the same time, one might not have enough substantive experience after a couple of years at one of the big New York law firms to be able to lateral?


Always best is to have skills that will be useful to your firm and client base early so that you are an attractive lateral candidate. The SV firms have much less banking work (if any). Capital markets, strong securities work and M&A is most useful to getting hired with maybe a slight edge to capital markets. Also corporate governance experience is useful. As tech companies grow those skills become more relevant so a lateral with those skills is more useful to a "hot" fast growing client, since those companies will start encountering either buy or sell M&A opportunities, the need to implement better corporate governance policies as the investor base grows from a handful of early stage investors to a diversified VC/Institutional/other security ownership base with potential competing interests and the need to make sure there are more formal processes than may be present at the early stage. The capital markets experience is also useful as the top level of successful start ups prepare for IPOs. Yes if you lateral its possible that you will be an attractive candidate for similar work on public companies/M&A but the private company deal flow is so high in SV that you should not have any trouble finding plenty of that work once you are hired. The key is being the most attractive candidate and since its not likely that NYC attorneys are doing a great deal of emerging company work its fine to have these other skills that will allow you to contribute quickly while you build your emerging company experience.




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