Risky to go into (non-IP) niche area?

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Risky to go into (non-IP) niche area?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:06 am

Is it risky as a new BigLaw associate to go into a niche area like fund formation? Do you severely limit your exit options to only this type of work, going in-house at funds/maybe some gov't? Does this prevent you from ever moving into another type of corporate work, or litigation, down the line? Could the future regulatory milieu/financial reality of these industries make it even more risky? I've heard that it's easy to transition to fund formation type work later in your career because it's easy to catch on, but to transition from it to something else may be more difficult.

I guess another way to phrase this question is to ask more generally how easy it is to transition from any group to another after a few years. I have gotten the impression from TLS that things are very rigid -- would it ever be possible to begin a career in corporate, but be hired later on by say, a midlaw firm, doing litigation? Or at least, to switch to say, M&A, or some other corporate area?

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thesealocust
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Re: Risky to go into (non-IP) niche area?

Postby thesealocust » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:31 am

What use are you as a lawyer if you don't wind up an expert at something? Even at places that but an emphasis on general practice/constant rotations people tend to be expected to eventually specialize in a narrow area.

Transitions from one group to another definitely happen, especially if you're willing to switch firms to make it happen. But the real question is why. It's hitting the reset button on your career. If you do two years of M&A then switch to litigation, you're just going to be 2 years behind the people in your "class" when it comes to litigating. You'll be able to happen, but not getting any bonus points for it.

IMO, when you start a career as a lawyer, the time of 'preserving options' as primary goal should be coming to a close.

You've made your choice. Alea iacta est.

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Re: Risky to go into (non-IP) niche area?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:55 pm

I met a corporate partner who started in lit and made the change when she was a senior associate. For context, her husband moved to Hong Kong and she pretty much had to change to corporate, which she ended up loving. The important caveat is that she had to start as a junior associate and lost all seniority, though.

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Re: Risky to go into (non-IP) niche area?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it risky as a new BigLaw associate to go into a niche area like fund formation? Do you severely limit your exit options to only this type of work, going in-house at funds/maybe some gov't? Does this prevent you from ever moving into another type of corporate work, or litigation, down the line? Could the future regulatory milieu/financial reality of these industries make it even more risky? I've heard that it's easy to transition to fund formation type work later in your career because it's easy to catch on, but to transition from it to something else may be more difficult.

I guess another way to phrase this question is to ask more generally how easy it is to transition from any group to another after a few years. I have gotten the impression from TLS that things are very rigid -- would it ever be possible to begin a career in corporate, but be hired later on by say, a midlaw firm, doing litigation? Or at least, to switch to say, M&A, or some other corporate area?


Fund formation is really niche and you're not going to have marketable skills for biglaw deals work. You'll be stuck doing fund formation on sponsor side or investor side. No chance at litigation, and you're unlikely to do other corporate work outside of moving to midlaw and doing general corporate in addition to investor side fund formation.

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Re: Risky to go into (non-IP) niche area?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:38 pm

Ouch. OK.

Although I guess maybe moving to a regulator like the SEC some day is not out the question, at least?

- OP.

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Re: Risky to go into (non-IP) niche area?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Ouch. OK.

Although I guess maybe moving to a regulator like the SEC some day is not out the question, at least?

- OP.


SEC would be an easy transition. Enforcement may be hard to get but OCIE, Corp Fin, Investment Management and Trading & markets would still be viable divisions with a fund formation background. Of course they have to be hiring, and you would have to be lucky enough to get the job, which is another issue in of itself.

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Re: Risky to go into (non-IP) niche area?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Ouch. OK.

Although I guess maybe moving to a regulator like the SEC some day is not out the question, at least?

- OP.


SEC would be an easy transition. Enforcement may be hard to get but OCIE, Corp Fin, Investment Management and Trading & markets would still be viable divisions with a fund formation background. Of course they have to be hiring, and you would have to be lucky enough to get the job, which is another issue in of itself.


I really only see investment management as a fit. But increased regulatory pressure would increase govt exit ops within the SEC. Increased regulation could also disincentivise PE investment. Which would mean a lot of competition for those 10-20 SEC jobs...

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Re: Risky to go into (non-IP) niche area?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:50 pm

I'm not sure the above comments are entirely accurate. I know two friends from law school that were doing private equity fund formation work at their firms and one lateralled to another vault firm and is now doing M&A and another got an in-house job with a public company as corporate counsel. Granted, it's not a huge sample size.

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thesealocust
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Re: Risky to go into (non-IP) niche area?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:55 pm

Yeah, fund formation work is a major portion of top big firm corporate practices. It's silly to see people think it's some kind of professional death sentence.

It's wise to think about exit options from big firms, but there are going to be lots of options and successful careers coming out of basically every field big firms touch.




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