Hard to decide between lit and corp?

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Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:17 am

I am a first year summer associate. I have now spent time in both litigation and corporate sections. I am in Texas, if that matters. I enjoy both. Very different work, yet I am still having a hard time deciding which I want to focus on and base my OCI on. Anyone else had this issue? If so, what was your deciding factor?

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:33 am

I hate the blue book, I like more lucrative exit options, and no more looking on Westlaw for cases that don't exist (but the fact of which I can never be certain...).

Lateral2013
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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Lateral2013 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am a first year summer associate. I have now spent time in both litigation and corporate sections. I am in Texas, if that matters. I enjoy both. Very different work, yet I am still having a hard time deciding which I want to focus on and base my OCI on. Anyone else had this issue? If so, what was your deciding factor?



Transactional here, I couldn't stand the thought of not ever knowing if you truly had the answer. No matter how good of a legal researcher you are, you could spend hours and hours researching a point of law, and at the end of the day somehow miss the one precedent that would have made a difference. And litigation matters tend to drag on for years with no resolution and hurry up and wait. Transactional work can drag on for months, but at the end there is a closing and you at least feel like you accomplished something for a few hours.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:06 pm

Going to lit. I love writing and research, I love applying cases to facts, I like the narrative and persuasive qualities of briefing (recognizing there's a fair amount of cutting/pasting, too), and I like getting up in front of people and blathering (whether that's judges asking me questions or me examining a witness). So it seemed fairly clear.

The other thing is that I find criminal law fascinating and corporate/finance stuff DEADLY dull (probably pure ignorance, but there you go), so while obviously there are corporate litigators, that helped tip the balance, too (and removes me from your target (firm) audience, but oh well). I could see how drafting legislation and policy stuff could be really satisfying, too, but I like going to court.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby theaccidentalclerk » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:55 pm

Litigator here. I love writing. But more than anything, I love winning. There is nothing better -- well, professionally speaking -- than that rush you get when you read the decision and it turns out you won. (And if you didn't, then you can always console yourself that you'll win on appeal.)

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby courtneylove » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:00 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Going to lit. I love writing and research, I love applying cases to facts, I like the narrative and persuasive qualities of briefing (recognizing there's a fair amount of cutting/pasting, too), and I like getting up in front of people and blathering (whether that's judges asking me questions or me examining a witness). So it seemed fairly clear.


I chose corp because of the face I'm making reading your post. I'm glad there are people in the world who actually enjoy any of that shit, omg. :shock:

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Bronte
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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Bronte » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:01 pm

I chose restructuring in part because it was hard to decide between litigation and corporate. I'm a finance wonk, but at the same time I really enjoy research and writing. To that end, restructuring is said to be a hybrid between litigation and corporate. It is also one of the practice areas to which finance theory is most relevant, given that it's all about capital structure, debt, and the value of assets. Yet although corporate restructuring is an increasingly transactional practice area, at more junior levels it is more like litigation work, except without the doc review.

As somewhat of an aside, it's common to hear corporate people explaining why they chose not to do litigation: don't want to write memos, don't want to search for cases, don't want to do the Bluebook. On the other hand, you rarely hear litigation people explaining why they didn't do corporate, probably because litigation is essentially the default choice.

But there are some solid reasons not to want to do corporate. For one thing, transactional work is largely the domain of bankers, whereas litigation is the domain of lawyers. Further, while not wanting to do research and writing is understandable, it is also easy to understand not wanting to do the bread and butter of junior-level corporate work: "drafting" (i.e., changing terms in long, pre-written contracts). Although over time I've come to appreciate how this could be more enjoyable to people than memo and brief writing, on its face it is one of the most boring things imaginable.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby hajjral » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:13 pm

I couldn't decide between lit and corp, so I chose a smaller practice group that handles its own litigation in addition to advising on transactions/licensing/permitting/etc. At least at my firm, groups like this include IP, environmental, and regulatory.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:16 pm

Bronte wrote:But there are some solid reasons not to want to do corporate. For one thing, transactional work is largely the domain of bankers, whereas litigation is the domain of lawyers. Further, while not wanting to do research and writing is understandable, it is also easy to understand not wanting to do the bread and butter of junior-level corporate work: "drafting" (i.e., changing terms in long, pre-written contracts). Although over time I've come to appreciate how this could be more enjoyable to people than memo and brief writing, on its face it is one of the most boring things imaginable.
Yeah, it's always mysterious to me when people are like "I didn't want to use Westlaw!" when the alternative is junior-level corporate work. I knew within about 20 minutes of my first corporate assignment that corporate work was absolutely not an option. It was like having an allergic reaction.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby anon168 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:17 pm

Bronte wrote:As somewhat of an aside, it's common to hear corporate people explaining why they chose not to do litigation: don't want to write memos, don't want to search for cases, don't want to do the Bluebook. On the other hand, you rarely hear litigation people explaining why they didn't do corporate, probably because litigation is essentially the default choice.

But there are some solid reasons not to want to do corporate. For one thing, transactional work is largely the domain of bankers, whereas litigation is the domain of lawyers. Further, while not wanting to do research and writing is understandable, it is also easy to understand not wanting to do the bread and butter of junior-level corporate work: "drafting" (i.e., changing terms in long, pre-written contracts). Although over time I've come to appreciate how this could be more enjoyable to people than memo and brief writing, on its face it is one of the most boring things imaginable.


To follow up on that line of thinking.

In corporate, 99% of the time your clients will always be richer than you, and at the end of the deal (or engagement) make more money than you.

In litigation, that is not always the case.

In corporate work you're (nearly) always helping others make more money for themselves, in litigation there are areas of practice where you can make money just for yourself, and lots of it, and your clients will see nary a dime.

Just something to think about.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:21 pm

courtneylove wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Going to lit. I love writing and research, I love applying cases to facts, I like the narrative and persuasive qualities of briefing (recognizing there's a fair amount of cutting/pasting, too), and I like getting up in front of people and blathering (whether that's judges asking me questions or me examining a witness). So it seemed fairly clear.


I chose corp because of the face I'm making reading your post. I'm glad there are people in the world who actually enjoy any of that shit, omg. :shock:

Same reaction I have to the idea drafting as Bronte defined it (shoot me right now) and working on anything to do with companies merging.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I hate the blue book, I like more lucrative exit options, and no more looking on Westlaw for cases that don't exist (but the fact of which I can never be certain...).


OP here. This is the way I am leaning.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby ZyzzBrah » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am a first year summer associate. I have now spent time in both litigation and corporate sections. I am in Texas, if that matters. I enjoy both. Very different work, yet I am still having a hard time deciding which I want to focus on and base my OCI on. Anyone else had this issue? If so, what was your deciding factor?



focus on getting a job offer, not whether its lit or corp. Honestly, you'd be an idiot to restrict your job search at this point. Firms will hire for what they need, not what you want.

Also whoever above was talking about how much you make v the client makes, omgwhocares.jpg

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:46 am

ZyzzBrah wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am a first year summer associate. I have now spent time in both litigation and corporate sections. I am in Texas, if that matters. I enjoy both. Very different work, yet I am still having a hard time deciding which I want to focus on and base my OCI on. Anyone else had this issue? If so, what was your deciding factor?



focus on getting a job offer, not whether its lit or corp. Honestly, you'd be an idiot to restrict your job search at this point. Firms will hire for what they need, not what you want.

Also whoever above was talking about how much you make v the client makes, omgwhocares.jpg


Nvm. But I will disagree. I think by end of 1L summer if your at firms you should chose a practice group by the end between the 2

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby ZyzzBrah » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Nvm. But I will disagree. I think by end of 1L summer if your at firms you should chose a practice group by the end between the 2


You've been at a firm for all of a few months by the end of an SA, its odd to restrict your OCI applications based on whether you're going to be doing corp/trans work because you might be foreclosing a job opportunity (besides some firms don't outright say "you will be put in the transactional group for sure and then potentially be hired into the same").

also, i have to say it, with sentences like the one in bold, you shouldn't be picky.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:42 pm

In addition to what everyone said, two other things to consider:

(1) Generally, corporate has much more unpredictable hours. This is not to say you'll work more in absolute terms, but you're more prone to having work randomly dropped on you at 4pm on a Friday, ruining your entire weekend. There are fewer fire drills in litigation, and you can generally project your workload much better.

(2) Litigation is really about the lawyers. Corporate is really about the business people. This has two consequences. One, in litigation, outside counsel really "drives" the process of what strategies to employ, arguments to make, etc. In corporate, the business people drive most of the decisions (price, timing, major terms, etc.) then leave it to lawyers to paper over. On the flipside, because corporate lawyers advise people in a live deal, you're more likely to counsel clients and help them through decisions in real time in corporate. In litigation, counseling is more or less limited to whether to sue, and whether to settle - there's less input from clients on everyday issues. So you'll interact with clients a lot less in litigation.

There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking I've found this to be true.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby anon168 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:15 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:In addition to what everyone said, two other things to consider:

(1) Generally, corporate has much more unpredictable hours. This is not to say you'll work more in absolute terms, but you're more prone to having work randomly dropped on you at 4pm on a Friday, ruining your entire weekend. There are fewer fire drills in litigation, and you can generally project your workload much better.

(2) Litigation is really about the lawyers. Corporate is really about the business people. This has two consequences. One, in litigation, outside counsel really "drives" the process of what strategies to employ, arguments to make, etc. In corporate, the business people drive most of the decisions (price, timing, major terms, etc.) then leave it to lawyers to paper over. On the flipside, because corporate lawyers advise people in a live deal, you're more likely to counsel clients and help them through decisions in real time in corporate. In litigation, counseling is more or less limited to whether to sue, and whether to settle - there's less input from clients on everyday issues. So you'll interact with clients a lot less in litigation.

There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking I've found this to be true.


This is wrong. Both points.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 08, 2013 1:38 am

ZyzzBrah wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Nvm. But I will disagree. I think by end of 1L summer if your at firms you should chose a practice group by the end between the 2


You've been at a firm for all of a few months by the end of an SA, its odd to restrict your OCI applications based on whether you're going to be doing corp/trans work because you might be foreclosing a job opportunity (besides some firms don't outright say "you will be put in the transactional group for sure and then potentially be hired into the same").

also, i have to say it, with sentences like the one in bold, you shouldn't be picky.


Hahaha this is awesome, TLS can be such jerks. But I think OP has multiple 1L SA positions... so I think he/she can be picky. You didnt know which practice group you wanted after your 1L SA positions?

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby 005618502 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 1:42 am

anon168 wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:In addition to what everyone said, two other things to consider:

(1) Generally, corporate has much more unpredictable hours. This is not to say you'll work more in absolute terms, but you're more prone to having work randomly dropped on you at 4pm on a Friday, ruining your entire weekend. There are fewer fire drills in litigation, and you can generally project your workload much better.

(2) Litigation is really about the lawyers. Corporate is really about the business people. This has two consequences. One, in litigation, outside counsel really "drives" the process of what strategies to employ, arguments to make, etc. In corporate, the business people drive most of the decisions (price, timing, major terms, etc.) then leave it to lawyers to paper over. On the flipside, because corporate lawyers advise people in a live deal, you're more likely to counsel clients and help them through decisions in real time in corporate. In litigation, counseling is more or less limited to whether to sue, and whether to settle - there's less input from clients on everyday issues. So you'll interact with clients a lot less in litigation.

There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking I've found this to be true.


This is wrong. Both points.


#1 is absolutely true. Anyone who says different doesnt know what they are talking about. Ask any lawyer at a big firm. Even the litigators and corp guys at the big firm I am at stress #1 as true.

Dont know about #2

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Bronte
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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Bronte » Sat Jun 08, 2013 2:09 am

AssumptionRequired wrote:
anon168 wrote:This is wrong. Both points.


#1 is absolutely true. Anyone who says different doesnt know what they are talking about. Ask any lawyer at a big firm. Even the litigators and corp guys at the big firm I am at stress #1 as true.

Dont know about #2


It's also hard to see how the second point isn't true. Again, it's something that you hear lawyers at big firms say all the time. And it seems obvious. Litigation is, essentially by definition, lawyers' work. It happens in court, in front of a judge. You have to be a lawyer to do it. Mergers and initial public offerings and debt financing are, again essentially by definition, bankers' work. You have to be a bank to underwrite a deal. Something more than "this is wrong" is needed to cast doubt on these fairly straightforward observations.

Transactional work, of course, has a number of advantages. Better exit options, less research and writing if that's your thing, etc. There are good reasons to choose it over litigation. But I don't see how you can deny that it has less predictable hours and tends to be under a greater degree of control by professionals in other fields.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Tom Joad » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:13 am

Bronte wrote:Transactional work, of course, has a number of advantages. Better exit options...

But is this really true? Sure you can go in house after doing corporate but what happens when your employer goes under or you get laid off?

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Bronte » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:02 am

Tom Joad wrote:
Bronte wrote:Transactional work, of course, has a number of advantages. Better exit options...

But is this really true? Sure you can go in house after doing corporate but what happens when your employer goes under or you get laid off?


Well, this is again something that you hear said regularly IRL and on this forum. But I've always just taken it on faith. Corporations going under doesn't strike me as something that would be a major factor, but maybe I'm wrong.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:20 am

One of the biggest differences to me is that in corporate, you're doing/creating something and (absent some things like hostile takeovers, BK, etc.) you're all on the same side. When shit gets real, you're on a team all trying to get something done - if you are hounding an executive for a signature or an ops person for confirmation of a wire, it's because everyone wants to get things wrapped up and consummate the transaction.

In litigation, you will have adversary who spend time thinking about how to serve their clients by making your life more difficult.

If you get a mountain of work on a friday night in transactional, well, OK, the deal has to get done. If it happens in lit because the other side wants to drop discovery every friday night until you quit...

Lastly, the whole "lit is for the lawyers thing" has some truth behind it, but transactional lawyers aren't just waiting around to do what the business people tell them. High-level transactional law involves providing strategic advice about how to accomplish business goals, how to maneuver the legal and regulatory landscape, etc.

To me, lawyer-as-strategic-adviser always sounded more appealing than lawyer-as-advocate. In either instance at a big firm, you'll be doing gruntwork as a junior and not arguing before a judge or helping the CFO structure the deal.

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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby NYstate » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:45 am

We definitely will send documents in a transaction on Friday afternoon so the other side has to work over the weekend. You also have to be an advocate in negotiations to keep the other side in check. The re-orgs I have worked on have been horrible and nasty with all parties involved.

Litigation is entirely adversarial.

My personality leans more toward creating something positive in a deal. I'm also incredibly impatient and litigation can move too slowly for me.

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Bronte
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Re: Hard to decide between lit and corp?

Postby Bronte » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:57 am

NYstate wrote:The re-orgs I have worked on have been horrible and nasty with all parties involved.


Would you elaborate? My perception is that large corporate restructurings tend to be more consensus-based and transactional than one might think. But maybe that's not inconsistent with what you're saying.




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