5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:05 pm

loomy78 wrote:Would you go to law school if you had the choice again?

OP here. Without a doubt. I love my job, my quality of life is good, career prospects are bright and the pay is pretty good.

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby pancakes3 » Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:26 pm

On a scale of 1 to rockstar, how rockstar would you rate yourself?

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:00 pm

pancakes3 wrote:On a scale of 1 to rockstar, how rockstar would you rate yourself?

OP here. Rockstar doesn't accurately capture it. I'm like Cobain, Jerry, Jimi and Janis all wrapped into a single person - a rockstar too epic for this world.

I really hope that was a sarcastic question...I assume it was, but you never know with these boards.

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby pancakes3 » Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
pancakes3 wrote:On a scale of 1 to rockstar, how rockstar would you rate yourself?

OP here. Rockstar doesn't accurately capture it. I'm like Cobain, Jerry, Jimi and Janis all wrapped into a single person - a rockstar too epic for this world.

I really hope that was a sarcastic question...I assume it was, but you never know with these boards.


viewtopic.php?f=23&t=257093

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:39 pm

OP, really helpful advice in this thread so thank you. If you are still around and monitoring, I would love to know what your tips are for transitioning from a big firm to in-house. I am making the switch in about a month as a newly-minted corporate 4th year, and I would love to get some tips on what I should be doing, or not doing, when I start in-house. Anything that you would suggest doing in advance of starting?

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am going to be doing banking and finance next year at a v100. I was recently going through goinhouse and I noticed a lot of the companies wanted associates with M&A experience. Is that typically a strict requirement or can banking and finance associates apply to these positions?

OP here. You can apply, but you will really need to sell yourself (explain how the work you are doing in banking/finance is transferrable) and you will need a little luck (that no M&A associates that are stellar apply). If you want to go in-house, I'd strongly encourage you to go into M&A/VC/corporate transactional practice. You can go in-house in banking/finance but you will probably need to be working in finance so your options are more limited. Drafting in finance is VERY different than M&A/corporate/commercial agreements.


Every company does financing of some sort, so it seems they wold want someone at the company who knows how to manage securities issuances/leveraged borrowings (even if they have outside counsel), in which case it seems like there should be high in house demand for finance associates...except that doesn't seem the case. Is it just that there are fewer of those finance in house jobs compared to the more general commercial in house jobs that M&A associates are preferred for? To clarify, would a finance associate have any shot at beng hired for one of those general commercial transactional in house positions or is he limited to finance specific in house positions?

Also, if one is an associate with a couple years of big law finance experience (cough cough), would you recommend trying to switch to M&A if one wanted to go in house, or is it better to stay the course and just understand that one's search for an in house job will be more difficult?

BTW I do think another factor as to why M&A is preferred over other transactional associates is prestige...hiring in law is prestige driven and M&A is considered the most prestigious (big change from not that long ago when the white shoe firms thought it was beneath them.)

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:01 am

midlevel finance associate here. started looking for in-house positions and seems almost half of positions are geared towards people with healthcare or technology background, which I guess makes sense since these are the growing fields today. it seems to me that industry experience may be more valuable that actual practice (m&a, finance, etc.)

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:16 am

OP here. You are correct that most companies do some sort of debt financing at some point or have a credit facility (I assume you are referring to debt financing as opposed to equity financing). Finance lawyers are not in high demand in-house because most companies are not negotiating credit facilities, swaps, etc. on a regular basis. This is niche work that comes up on an irregular basis for most companies unless you work in the financial services industry.

It will be a hard sell for a finance lawyer to be hired for an in-house position that will handle commercial agreements, at least based upon my experience (...it would be a hard sell to get me to hire you to my company for such a position). Why? The drafting style is very different in finance vs. M&A or VC. Additionally, the concepts in M&A/VC carry over more generally. M&A/VC generally require review and familiarity with commercial agreements more so than finance, so these associates have some familiarity with the concepts and what provisions matter/mean, even if you don't get a chance to actually draft/negotiate commercial agreements. Last, M&A is a broader practice area in general. You need to issue spot and tap subject matter specialists much more so than other practice areas. M&A lawyers routinely solicit input from lawyers in Finance, Environmental, Securities, Governance, Tax, ERISA/benefits, Employment, IP, Real Estate, Immigration, Export regs, Healthcare and even Litigation from time to time, which requires/teaches the ability to issue spot and, over times, allows M&A lawyers to glean familiarity with a broad range of practices. Prestige never even entered my mind. Maybe it matters for some, but I really think it comes down to practical/transferrable skills.

If you want options to go in-house and don't want to work in financial services, I recommend trying to transfer to the M&A group at your firm or sell yourself to as a lateral to another firm for their M&A or broader corporate group. M&A has been fairly hot and lots of associates are going in-house because the job market is good, so I imagine you could land something if you can articulate why the M&A switch and are willing to come in a bit junior. I've seen Finance associates (even mid-levels) make the switch to M&A by lateraling and they picked it up fairly quickly. It can be done, but most in-house groups will not want to roll the dice that you will quickly learn or train you on the job...at least no in-house jobs that are desirable because they will have M&A candidates with more relevant experience.

To the other poster's point, I think relevant industry experience is often helpful, but in the commercial contract roles it is usually not required. You probably have licensing familiarity if you were involved in M&A or other broad corporate practices. Healthcare is more specialized but often times healthcare companies have regulatory counsel that they rely upon to be experts on HIPAA, not the commercial counsel.

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:31 am

Do you have any knowledge on the transition of funds lawyers (mutual fund, hedge fund, PE) to in-house positions? Do they ever make the jump to large companies? Or is it almost exclusively to funds themselves?

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do you have any knowledge on the transition of funds lawyers (mutual fund, hedge fund, PE) to in-house positions? Do they ever make the jump to large companies? Or is it almost exclusively to funds themselves?

OP here. Depends. Some PE practices are basically M&A, just for PE funds. Non-M&A PE can be very transactional and akin to VC work if you are drafting LLC Agrrements for co-investments, for example. I know less about hedge fund and mutual fund practices but they are more regulatory focused I believe and I believe the drafting is less similar to commercial agreements (basically same response I gave above for Finance lawyers). There are always exceptions but your exit options will likely be in the financial services industry. Not necessarily bad if that's what you want and there are financial service companies in your desired market.

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
sinfiery wrote:Compare hours worked/billed at firm vs hours inhouse

At firm it varied a lot. Some stints were regularly 200+ billables per month. Other times, I would get a couple months in a row on which I did not even break 150. The pure numbers do not really tell the day to day life, however. If I billed 140 with a lot of weekend/evening/vacation work and was slow during 9-5, it was still a miserable month. Additionally, for the first couple of years, I would usually have an all nighter at least once every couple of months (and several nights past 1am on top of the all nighter). On average, I could usually leave by 8/830pm over the course of my career, which isn't terrible, but it was the inconsistency that killed me. I had no control over my life, which made it impossible to schedule anything during the weekend (and sometimes difficult even on weekends) - I missed lots of dinners/plans with friends, concerts, gym time and lots of evenings with my significant other. There were weeks in which I never saw my significant other except to wake him/her to let him/her know I was home safe. There were times I sacrificed my health so that I maintained personal relationships (like going to a friends bday party and staying up late even though I had pulled an all nighter the night before and was a zombie). I had colleagues and friends comment that they were worried about my health at times because I looked so horrible. Emotionally, it took a toll. I grew impatient with the lifestyle and angry at times towards the end because of the expectation that works comes before all else. I kept my feelings hidden well (I think) from most colleagues but I was bitter and no longer really enjoyed coming to work everyday. Whereas, when I first started, I loved coming to work even during busy periods. It is really too bad that the lifestyle requires so much sacrifice, even for partners (maybe moreso for partners). Big law firms lose a lot of really good talent for almost pure lifestyle reasons. I am leaving for other reasons too (interested in business side), but I probably wouldn't have questioned my path and thought of leaving if the lifestyle was better. I will miss many of my colleagues. My job's challenges were client driven for the most part so I do not have any ill feelings towards my colleagues. Looking around the firm, there are very few associates left that were there when I started and even fewer of those that were not laterals. A handful made partner but most left for smaller firms or in house jobs.

My day to day will be probably 9-9.5 hour days with no weekend or vacation work and little evening work beyond regular business hours except during busy periods or to answer emails.


Were you Midwest, East Coast, or West Coast?

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Re: 5th year associate leaving now to go in-house: AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:54 am

OP here. I'd rather not say exactly but I'm in a primary, non-NYC market.




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