Entertainment Biglawyer to startup exec. Answering Q's

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PwnLaw
Posts: 198
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 7:07 pm

Entertainment Biglawyer to startup exec. Answering Q's

Postby PwnLaw » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:52 am

You can search my prior threads. Drop in every 6 months or so. T-14 to top rated entertainment group at BigLaw firm. Did well in BigLaw (generated business, hit hours, had a good reputation). Left to join a startup. Currently the #2 person at a ~30 person vc-backed startup in the video game space.

Can answer questions about any of the above. I'll check back between games of League of Legends.
Last edited by PwnLaw on Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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IgosduIkana
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Re: Entertainment Biglawyer to startup exec. Answering Q's

Postby IgosduIkana » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:00 am

I will definitely be back with a question - I was reading through your old posts and you seem like a wealth of talent and wisdom.

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2014
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Re: Entertainment Biglawyer to startup exec. Answering Q's

Postby 2014 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:51 am

I've read your previous threads before, thanks for the valuable info.

What's the next step for you? Would you like to stay at this startup if it makes it or would you get the itch to cash out and try a new one?

How is your startup doing by the way? What's a realistic eta before the VC folks start looking to sell and collect their capital/return?

PwnLaw
Posts: 198
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: Entertainment Biglawyer to startup exec. Answering Q's

Postby PwnLaw » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:06 am

2014 wrote:I've read your previous threads before, thanks for the valuable info.

What's the next step for you? Would you like to stay at this startup if it makes it or would you get the itch to cash out and try a new one?

How is your startup doing by the way? What's a realistic eta before the VC folks start looking to sell and collect their capital/return?


Really hard to say. I just closed a big deal for the startup this week, which creates a ton of potential. I'm still vesting into stock and there's a strong financial incentive to build on what we have. Also, I really love what I do. I run a game team, get to do business development and occasional lawyering, and love the folks I work with. I could be making better career decisions, but I'd rather maximize for fulfillment. I've passed up a lot of very lucrative opportunities, but no regrets, even if this doesn't work out.

VCs generally look at the optics of the space and momentum of the company. With the recent deal, I think they'll want to see what we do with it. We're decently positioned in a space that has been cooling off a bit lately. Lot of our competitors have gone by the wayside (while a few others have struck it rich). I think it's up to us to make things happen in the next year or two and I gotta say that I like our chances.

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Re: Entertainment Biglawyer to startup exec. Answering Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:46 pm

Thank you for your posts. What advice would you give to a 4th year M&A/capital markets/corporate associate who is getting lots of great responsibility/experience but wants to eventually go in-house? I'm not miserable right now (though 1 month ago would have been a different story), but I have trouble seeing myself being at a law firm long term. I want to be more involve in business strategy. I enjoy getting to know my repeat clients' industries and really trying to add value once I have insight into their goals/culture/fears. I have prior business experience in my prior life before law, albeit it was unconventional business experience (service-business start-up). Overall, I do enjoy the work right now, so I am guessing a larger legal department with some M&A responsibilities will be the best fit, but I'm a little in the dark when it comes to evaluating my options going forward.

Do I jump now while the economy is decent and in-house options are available, and climb the corporate ladder? Continue to ride out the golden ticket for a couple more years so I start higher up the ladder? My biggest concern is the economy goes to shit and I'm stuck at the firm...or worse, they need to significantly trim and I'm on the streets. Though, I'm less concerned about the latter, at least for the foreseeable future. In case you can't tell, stability/job security is important to me. I have a young kid so I'm a bit risk averse. With that said, I also love intellectual challenges and one of my other big fears is taking a boring in-house job that leaves little room for professional growth. Any advice at all is very much appreciated.

PwnLaw
Posts: 198
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: Entertainment Biglawyer to startup exec. Answering Q's

Postby PwnLaw » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you for your posts. What advice would you give to a 4th year corporate (M&A/capital markets) associate who is getting lots of responsibility/experience but wants to eventually go in-house? Reason being, I don't want the lifestyle of being a corporate partner and don't love the hours right now, and I want to be more involve in business strategy (I enjoy getting to know my repeat clients' industries and really trying to add value). Overall, I do enjoy the work, so I am guessing a larger legal department with some M&A responsibilities will be the best fit, but I'm a little green when it comes to evaluating my options going forward.

Jump now while the economy is decent and options are available? Continue to ride out the golden ticket for a couple more years? My biggest concern is the economy goes to shit and I'm stuck at the firm...or worse, they need to significantly trim and I'm on the streets. Though, I'm less concerned about the latter, at least for the foreseeable future. In case you can't tell, stability/job security is very important to me.


Really good question. This is a huge career decision and it's hard for me to give great advice without a bit more context. You're welcome to provide more details if you feel more comfortable (location, prior work experience, UG degree, interests, etc.).

In the abstract, I think your goal should be to network in a particular direction. It's very hard to get a sense of a legal department unless you have some exposure to the people. I always get nervous when friends take jobs at companies just to take a job at a company. You want to set yourself up to succeed and excel.

As a general rule, I'd gun for an AGC position. Going to a massive legal department as corporate counsel is often a fast track to career stagnation (which isn't a terrible thing for some people, but if the axe falls, it often comes down on lawyer number #35 rather than someone viewed as essential to the workings of the company). You should also look for legal departments that are considered at least somewhat value add to the business (as opposed to the guy tucked in the corner that says no to everything). For example, an IP lawyer can do well in a company that is heavily focused on major licensing deals. A corporate attorney can do well in a company on a buying spree. Additionally, being part of an essential process opens up a ton of additional career options (Ops, Business Development, to a lesser extent Product Management).

Don't screw up by going for a company that doesn't have an interesting upside. I see a lot of lawyers that are so focused on leaving the firm life that they'll go anywhere that will have them. They want predictability and a decent paycheck. That's fine, but realize that you still want to have a career. Looks for places where you can get a decent equity package or at least some perks tied to company performance.

The nice thing about your position is that you can afford to be choosey for the time being. Take your time, evaluate what you want and then network in that direction.

PwnLaw
Posts: 198
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: Entertainment Biglawyer to startup exec. Answering Q's

Postby PwnLaw » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:40 am

Will be around again tonight. Probably check throughout the week before disappearing into the ether once more.




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