How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

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gander14

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How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby gander14 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:29 am

I probably just need to accept that I'm not going to like being a lawyer, since I don't enjoy litigation or deal work, but I'm wondering if there are many lawyers out there who do neither?

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:47 am

I personally think lawyers worth a salt should have solid fundamental lawyering skills in either lit or trans. I worked with older lawyers who did neither. They did client management, something that a high school grad could do. Their day to day included emailing clients who to pay how much for the crap service they received from attorneys within their network. They were not employable outside of what they do. It was sad really.

bdubs

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby bdubs » Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:12 am

What do you dislike about them? Certain tax and regulatory work are not really deals or litigation, but they probably involve a lot of the same types of tasks.

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby Danger Zone » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:38 am

Trusts and estates?
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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zot1

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby zot1 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:25 am

You can be an attorney in an advisory position. A lot of government attorneys do this--myself included. Clients come and ask, hey this is happening what can I do legally, and I tell them.

Big caveat: although I'm sure some attorneys are advisors 100%, I do have some lit and trans obligations as well.

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby RaceJudicata » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:I personally think lawyers worth a salt should have solid fundamental lawyering skills in either lit or trans. I worked with older lawyers who did neither. They did client management, something that a high school grad could do. Their day to day included emailing clients who to pay how much for the crap service they received from attorneys within their network. They were not employable outside of what they do. It was sad really.


Ya this is just incorrect.

Plenty of attorneys do regulatory work and do not involve themselves in transactions or litigation. FWIW, a lot of these jobs (at least the big law ones) will be in DC.

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zot1

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby zot1 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:50 am

RaceJudicata wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I personally think lawyers worth a salt should have solid fundamental lawyering skills in either lit or trans. I worked with older lawyers who did neither. They did client management, something that a high school grad could do. Their day to day included emailing clients who to pay how much for the crap service they received from attorneys within their network. They were not employable outside of what they do. It was sad really.


Ya this is just incorrect.

Plenty of attorneys do regulatory work and do not involve themselves in transactions or litigation. FWIW, a lot of these jobs (at least the big law ones) will be in DC.


There's absolutely no shame in not doing lit or deals. In my opinion, it's a lot less stressful, but you're still providing important legal services. Heck, every time I advise a client I'm avoiding what could have been sure litigation. That's quite a bit of money I'm saving them.

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby transferror » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:25 am

Check out estate planning

dixiecupdrinking

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

It would help to know what you don't like about litigation or deal work because, although there are other practice areas, they may have those same aspects in common.

If you just don't like being adverse to another side, then as others have said there are options like regulatory or compliance advisory work, estate/tax planning, etc.

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby misterjames » Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:41 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I personally think lawyers worth a salt should have solid fundamental lawyering skills in either lit or trans. I worked with older lawyers who did neither. They did client management, something that a high school grad could do. Their day to day included emailing clients who to pay how much for the crap service they received from attorneys within their network. They were not employable outside of what they do. It was sad really.


Ya this is just incorrect.

Plenty of attorneys do regulatory work and do not involve themselves in transactions or litigation. FWIW, a lot of these jobs (at least the big law ones) will be in DC.


the bolded is mostly true for regulatory jobs but industry-specific outliers exist, i.e. financial reg in NYC, pharma reg in NJ, environmental in Cali, oil/gas in TX, you get the idea.

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:02 pm

If you want NYC biglaw but dont want to do lit or transactional I'd look into firms with good asset mgmt or investment mgmt practices.

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PeanutsNJam

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:07 pm

estate planning is a good alternative, but it depends on why you don't want to do lit or deal work. Do you hate writing? Due diligence? Arguments? Time constraints? What is it about lit/corp you dislike? How much did you enjoy the estates portion of your Property class.

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grand inquisitor

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby grand inquisitor » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:23 pm

become a congressman or senator, or perhaps run for governor

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby Pleasye » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:40 pm

zot1 wrote:You can be an attorney in an advisory position. A lot of government attorneys do this--myself included. Clients come and ask, hey this is happening what can I do legally, and I tell them.

Big caveat: although I'm sure some attorneys are advisors 100%, I do have some lit and trans obligations as well.

Not to derail this thread, but this sounds interesting to me. Do you mind expanding on what you do/where (essentially wondering if you have a DC job)/how you got the job? You can PM if you want.

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby zot1 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:47 pm

Pleasye wrote:
zot1 wrote:You can be an attorney in an advisory position. A lot of government attorneys do this--myself included. Clients come and ask, hey this is happening what can I do legally, and I tell them.

Big caveat: although I'm sure some attorneys are advisors 100%, I do have some lit and trans obligations as well.

Not to derail this thread, but this sounds interesting to me. Do you mind expanding on what you do/where (essentially wondering if you have a DC job)/how you got the job? You can PM if you want.


I'll post some details here since it might useful to OP, but you can PM if you'd like to know more than what I post.

I work for a federal agency NOT in DC. The nature of my work is very in-house counsel like. I have worked for an in-house counsel office before and know a few people who currently do, and I can say some of what we (in the context of public vs. private) is very similar (although none of them work for Fortune 500 companies that I know of).

My role is more attuned to the definition of "counselor." Non-lawyers within the agency have to do their jobs, and in the course of doing that, they come up with tons of legal questions. So they come to me for advise on how to proceed or if they should at all.

For example, in the context of real estate, someone might come to me and say, "We leased this facility to this tenant, and the tenant has let the property go to waste. What are my options?" I would then review the real estate instruments, any laws/regs involved, form an opinion, then tell the real estate person, here's what you can do and here's what I recommend you do. Then they make the decision as to the final outcome since I'm just there to provide advice. (Unless they plan to do something illegal, in that case I totally do more than just advise).

But I also have on-the-spot questions (an answer is needed right away and I don't have much if at all time for research/brainstorming). For example, in the labor context, someone might come to me and say, "We have an employee who just punched another, can we suspend/fire him?" I would likely say, "we can consider disciplinary actions, but that's not immediate. Right now we need to remove the employee from the environment by doing x, and then we look into the discipline component."

I have to admit this is the most enjoyable part of my work. I get paid to give my opinion on things.

Note: Most federal attorneys in DC (Non-DOJ) work in public policy. However, some must have positions similar to mine or combine with policy duties. I honestly wouldn't mind that as I also write policy for my agency sometimes, and I also find that to be a lot of fun.

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:35 pm

zot1 wrote:
Pleasye wrote:
zot1 wrote:You can be an attorney in an advisory position. A lot of government attorneys do this--myself included. Clients come and ask, hey this is happening what can I do legally, and I tell them.

Big caveat: although I'm sure some attorneys are advisors 100%, I do have some lit and trans obligations as well.

Not to derail this thread, but this sounds interesting to me. Do you mind expanding on what you do/where (essentially wondering if you have a DC job)/how you got the job? You can PM if you want.


I'll post some details here since it might useful to OP, but you can PM if you'd like to know more than what I post.

I work for a federal agency NOT in DC. The nature of my work is very in-house counsel like. I have worked for an in-house counsel office before and know a few people who currently do, and I can say some of what we (in the context of public vs. private) is very similar (although none of them work for Fortune 500 companies that I know of).

My role is more attuned to the definition of "counselor." Non-lawyers within the agency have to do their jobs, and in the course of doing that, they come up with tons of legal questions. So they come to me for advise on how to proceed or if they should at all.

For example, in the context of real estate, someone might come to me and say, "We leased this facility to this tenant, and the tenant has let the property go to waste. What are my options?" I would then review the real estate instruments, any laws/regs involved, form an opinion, then tell the real estate person, here's what you can do and here's what I recommend you do. Then they make the decision as to the final outcome since I'm just there to provide advice. (Unless they plan to do something illegal, in that case I totally do more than just advise).

But I also have on-the-spot questions (an answer is needed right away and I don't have much if at all time for research/brainstorming). For example, in the labor context, someone might come to me and say, "We have an employee who just punched another, can we suspend/fire him?" I would likely say, "we can consider disciplinary actions, but that's not immediate. Right now we need to remove the employee from the environment by doing x, and then we look into the discipline component."

I have to admit this is the most enjoyable part of my work. I get paid to give my opinion on things.

Note: Most federal attorneys in DC (Non-DOJ) work in public policy. However, some must have positions similar to mine or combine with policy duties. I honestly wouldn't mind that as I also write policy for my agency sometimes, and I also find that to be a lot of fun.


as someone who works in the general counsel's office of a gov agency, this does sound very similar to what i do. the only real difference, as you alluded to, is the authority of the opinion.

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 27, 2016 1:02 am

.

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Glasseyes

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby Glasseyes » Sat Aug 27, 2016 1:03 am

Regulatory work at a firm often does still attach to deals and litigation, but just as often (for some groups) you'd be in an advisory role, as zot described above. At my firm that amounts to a lot of client emails / informal memo type responses when a client asks "can I do this, and if so, what's the best practice". Also a lot of blog posts and client alerts, which suck for several reasons but are less boring/miserable to write than, I dunno, a brief or response motion.

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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby Barack O'Drama » Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:12 am

Glasseyes wrote:Regulatory work at a firm often does still attach to deals and litigation, but just as often (for some groups) you'd be in an advisory role, as zot described above. At my firm that amounts to a lot of client emails / informal memo type responses when a client asks "can I do this, and if so, what's the best practice". Also a lot of blog posts and client alerts, which suck for several reasons but are less boring/miserable to write than, I dunno, a brief or response motion.



I don't know why, but the idea of being in an advisory role really appeals to me. Are these jobs typically more hard to get than let's say big law?
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Re: How to be a lawyer who doesn't litigate or do deals?

Postby RaceJudicata » Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:43 am

Barack O'Drama wrote:
Glasseyes wrote:Regulatory work at a firm often does still attach to deals and litigation, but just as often (for some groups) you'd be in an advisory role, as zot described above. At my firm that amounts to a lot of client emails / informal memo type responses when a client asks "can I do this, and if so, what's the best practice". Also a lot of blog posts and client alerts, which suck for several reasons but are less boring/miserable to write than, I dunno, a brief or response motion.



I don't know why, but the idea of being in an advisory role really appeals to me. Are these jobs typically more hard to get than let's say big law?


These are big law jobs.

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Barack O'Drama

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