explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

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explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:01 pm

Hi all --

I'm about two years into biglaw litigation and wondering if I should lateral into doing transactional work. My long term goal is to get more involved in business and eventually own my own company, and I'm beginning to feel like what I'm learning as a litigator won't really help me with that. I'd like to save up some money working for a law firm a little longer and am thinking about applying to one of the transactional groups in the silicon valley, ideally working with small-mid sized companies. Can anyone tell me what it's like, and how it compares to litigation?

what are hours like? work culture?

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baal hadad
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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby baal hadad » Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:12 pm

Good luck getting a transactional position as a 2 yr litigator bro

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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:53 pm

baal hadad wrote:Good luck getting a transactional position as a 2 yr litigator bro


I have friends that have done it and know of a couple of firms that are hiring. Thanks for that, though.

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Desert Fox
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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:57 pm

baal hadad wrote:Good luck getting a transactional position as a 2 yr litigator bro


There are recruiters trying to get IP Litbros to switch to transactional.

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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:41 pm

SV associate working at one of WSGR/Cooley/Fenwick/Gunderson:

a) None of us are looking to take on a corporate associate in the kind of work that would help you even come close to learning how to "run a business " (aka start-up), unless you're talking WSGR, in which case you don't really want to work there.

b) Recruiters can sell you on a lot of shit, but switching from litigation to corporate is going to be hard no matter what two years in. You'll have explaining to do and you'll be competing agains candidates with more experience and therefore more coherent reasons for wanting to work at that firm. Best case scenario for you is that you are hired into corporate, but you start as a first year (including the paycut). If you're good with this, go for it. But keep in mind this also narrows your options considerably, as not any of the above (as far as I know) are looking for entry-level corporate associates.

c) An SV corporate practice won't teach you to run a company one bit, and many of my clients are successful running their businesses and raising money while having me as a big crutch. In fact, I'd say that after their first good raise, they'll know all they need to know about the legal side of running a business.

If you want to learn how to run a business and you eventually want to have your own, get a god damn MBA. Short of that, a Silicon Valley corporate practice, if you manage to enter one, won't solve your problems anymore than quitting and just starting your own business would.

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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby fats provolone » Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:00 am

Desert Fox wrote:
baal hadad wrote:Good luck getting a transactional position as a 2 yr litigator bro


There are recruiters trying to get IP Litbros to switch to transactional.

is that for real though?

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Desert Fox
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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby Desert Fox » Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:05 am

fats provolone wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
baal hadad wrote:Good luck getting a transactional position as a 2 yr litigator bro


There are recruiters trying to get IP Litbros to switch to transactional.

is that for real though?


Who knows, but I'd rather do front line Tech Support than that.

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fats provolone
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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby fats provolone » Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:18 am

Desert Fox wrote:
fats provolone wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
baal hadad wrote:Good luck getting a transactional position as a 2 yr litigator bro


There are recruiters trying to get IP Litbros to switch to transactional.

is that for real though?


Who knows, but I'd rather do front line Tech Support than that.

w/e I'll review invention reports at Google

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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:SV associate working at one of WSGR/Cooley/Fenwick/Gunderson:

a) None of us are looking to take on a corporate associate in the kind of work that would help you even come close to learning how to "run a business " (aka start-up), unless you're talking WSGR, in which case you don't really want to work there.

b) Recruiters can sell you on a lot of shit, but switching from litigation to corporate is going to be hard no matter what two years in. You'll have explaining to do and you'll be competing agains candidates with more experience and therefore more coherent reasons for wanting to work at that firm. Best case scenario for you is that you are hired into corporate, but you start as a first year (including the paycut). If you're good with this, go for it. But keep in mind this also narrows your options considerably, as not any of the above (as far as I know) are looking for entry-level corporate associates.

c) An SV corporate practice won't teach you to run a company one bit, and many of my clients are successful running their businesses and raising money while having me as a big crutch. In fact, I'd say that after their first good raise, they'll know all they need to know about the legal side of running a business.

If you want to learn how to run a business and you eventually want to have your own, get a god damn MBA. Short of that, a Silicon Valley corporate practice, if you manage to enter one, won't solve your problems anymore than quitting and just starting your own business would.


Thanks my friend, appreciate your input. What about a biglaw firm that isn't especially known in SV for transactional but has a group that works with small-mid companies? Not as prestigious as those others but maybe a little different from what you describe.

I think in the end your advice -- go and do what you want to do -- is the advice I really need to listen to, but I want to save up some cash in biglaw for a couple more years before doing that, and I figure it might make more sense to do that in a transactional setting than in a litigation setting. I also figure there might be more exit opportunities into companies where I could get more experience. Are exit opportunities as easy to come by at places like your firm as litigators claim they are?

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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:00 pm

Thanks my friend, appreciate your input. What about a biglaw firm that isn't especially known in SV for transactional but has a group that works with small-mid companies? Not as prestigious as those others but maybe a little different from what you describe.


Not necessarily a good look. If you work for a third tier SV practice, you risk not getting the training and exposure that would make you a good SV attorney (as in, a start-up/venture capital lawyer). Reason is that start-ups tend to flock to the highest rated firms either because they have VC connections or because the VCs recommend them. Going to a top SV practice is also a good signaling mechanism for the start-up.

And if the practice does manage to snag a hot client, we typically poach them.

My recommendation is to try to get into a top tier SV practice. But then again, your stated goal is not to stay long in biglaw, so maybe it doesn't matter.

I think in the end your advice -- go and do what you want to do -- is the advice I really need to listen to, but I want to save up some cash in biglaw for a couple more years before doing that, and I figure it might make more sense to do that in a transactional setting than in a litigation setting. I also figure there might be more exit opportunities into companies where I could get more experience. Are exit opportunities as easy to come by at places like your firm as litigators claim they are?


Yeah, I have great exits I think. Not necessarily the case that there are plenty of business-side or quasi law/business opportunities available to me, but definitely the case that I can find a good job as a lawyer somewhere else making similar if not more money.

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scrowell
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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby scrowell » Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:14 pm

It's chill.

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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thanks my friend, appreciate your input. What about a biglaw firm that isn't especially known in SV for transactional but has a group that works with small-mid companies? Not as prestigious as those others but maybe a little different from what you describe.


Not necessarily a good look. If you work for a third tier SV practice, you risk not getting the training and exposure that would make you a good SV attorney (as in, a start-up/venture capital lawyer). Reason is that start-ups tend to flock to the highest rated firms either because they have VC connections or because the VCs recommend them. Going to a top SV practice is also a good signaling mechanism for the start-up.

And if the practice does manage to snag a hot client, we typically poach them.

My recommendation is to try to get into a top tier SV practice. But then again, your stated goal is not to stay long in biglaw, so maybe it doesn't matter.

I think in the end your advice -- go and do what you want to do -- is the advice I really need to listen to, but I want to save up some cash in biglaw for a couple more years before doing that, and I figure it might make more sense to do that in a transactional setting than in a litigation setting. I also figure there might be more exit opportunities into companies where I could get more experience. Are exit opportunities as easy to come by at places like your firm as litigators claim they are?


Yeah, I have great exits I think. Not necessarily the case that there are plenty of business-side or quasi law/business opportunities available to me, but definitely the case that I can find a good job as a lawyer somewhere else making similar if not more money.


Not OP here, but curious about SV exit-options-market. I would appreciate it if you could expand on the types of options available and how they compare to biglaw in terms of $ and hours?

I'm afraid when it comes time to exit from biglaw, I will be taking a big income dip. This seems to be the general wisdom on TLS. Is it different in SV?

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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:52 pm

Not OP here, but curious about SV exit-options-market. I would appreciate it if you could expand on the types of options available and how they compare to biglaw in terms of $ and hours?

I'm afraid when it comes time to exit from biglaw, I will be taking a big income dip. This seems to be the general wisdom on TLS. Is it different in SV?



You have to step out of the cash mindset and think assets. Equity comp, 401k matching, better healthcare plans and other cool perks are generally what help you come out ahead than biglaw.

General exit options:

1) Inhouse
2) Other firms

hours can vary widely. $$$ is usually at least $150k in cash. but we're talking about small start-ups to big companies like Google, so hours worked and amount paid will vary significantly

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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby PwnLaw » Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:06 pm

So I actually ended up doing almost exactly actually what you've described. I started out doing BigLaw litigation for the entertainment industry and after a few years made the switch to SV and handled mostly transactional work. After a period in SV, I jumped to a startup doing business development. Then I moved over to the product side. A few years after that I became the CEO of a VC-backed startup.

I haven't seen many lawyers on the business side (though there are certainly a few). I haven't really seen any that have ended up running a business either. That doesn't mean it isn't possible though. I think most lawyers select out because of the pay hit you take in the transition and the risk profile associated with startups. If you're intent on that path, you'll need to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to put yourself into positions to make that happen, you'll need to be very strong interpersonally and you'll need to be really lucky.

I'd suggest getting the MBA instead.

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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:42 pm

wow, some great assets on this board. that's why we stick around here, I guess!

PwnLaw: can you describe what you mean by "trying to put yourself into positions to make that happen"? I understand that, to some extent this can't be answered in a specific way -- it probably means "hustling" -- which I'm going to do differently from the next guy, but I thought that maybe transferring over to the transactional side WAS one of these things. Putting myself into a position to get closer to companies in my day to day work.

Also, would be interested if you or anyone else could recommend an organization or two to learn about some of this stuff in my spare time. I've found that most startup guys are happy to respond to me if I'm willing to give them free work for a while (why not, right?) so that's one thing I've done so far.

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Re: explain transactional law working in Silicon Valley

Postby PwnLaw » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:wow, some great assets on this board. that's why we stick around here, I guess!<br abp="719"><br abp="720">PwnLaw: can you describe what you mean by "trying to put yourself into positions to make that happen"? I understand that, to some extent this can't be answered in a specific way -- it probably means "hustling" -- which I'm going to do differently from the next guy, but I thought that maybe transferring over to the transactional side WAS one of these things. Putting myself into a position to get closer to companies in my day to day work.<br abp="721"><br abp="722">Also, would be interested if you or anyone else could recommend an organization or two to learn about some of this stuff in my spare time. I've found that most startup guys are happy to respond to me if I'm willing to give them free work for a while (why not, right?) so that's one thing I've done so far.


I focused on networking in an industry that was just growing and attracting a lot of VC investment (mobile games). I found that going deep in a particular industry was better for developing secondary value as an adviser than just interacting with a bunch of industries on a superficial level.

As a lawyer handling transactional work in SV, you'll interact with CEOs a lot. Normally the CEOs view you as a cost center and an obstruction to getting things done, I generally focused on trying to solve problems rather than create them. I spent a lot of time networking so I could make introductions for the CEOs and generally be seen as a company adviser rather than just a straight lawyer. After a few years I had a very good relationship with a few different CEOs. After a while, I decided I enjoyed the business problems more than the legal problems and asked a few of those CEOs if they wanted to bring on someone for business development. Rest is history.




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