current attorneys: is picking a practice area based on exit options dumb?

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current attorneys: is picking a practice area based on exit options dumb?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:56 pm

interested only in transactional practices. i think the consensus is that m&a gives the broadest range of exit options. i personally really liked bankruptcy. worked in bankruptcy court this past summer and heading to a firm that also has a strong restructuring practice. but i routinely see here on TLS and elsewhere that restructuring associates generally have some of the worst exit opportunities. i dont really have much of an interest in m&a...

was hoping current/former biglaw attorneys can weigh in on this. did you factor in exit options when you were choosing between practice groups? going with the assumptions that all transactional work is just mindless comma chasing + biglaw associates last 3-5 years on average, is it just more prudent to go with something like m&a that will at least lead to broader (better?) exit options?

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Re: current attorneys: is picking a practice area based on exit options dumb?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:21 pm

Not OP. Would also love to see some opinions on this question.

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Lacepiece23

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Re: current attorneys: is picking a practice area based on exit options dumb?

Postby Lacepiece23 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:35 pm

If only interested in transactional practice I don't think it is a terrible idea. But I mean you have to make it long enough at a large firm for you exit options to vest. If you only make it 1 year in M&A, but can make it 3-5 years in restructuring, then you would have been better off going with restructuring. I'd personally go with what you want to do because life is too short to be practicing something you do not want to. I chose litigation for this reason. I could never do corporate even though I know it has better exit options.

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Re: current attorneys: is picking a practice area based on exit options dumb?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:45 pm

Depending on the firm and what you're interested in doing down the road, restructuring exit options really aren't all that bad.

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Re: current attorneys: is picking a practice area based on exit options dumb?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:15 pm

Yes. People have different interests/strengths, and it's very hard to excel at something you don't care about/aren't good at. It is true that exit options are better for transactional attorneys that litigators, but exit options (and career prospects generally) are much better for skilled attorneys. I think you're better off picking an area you enjoy--and then working your ass off, trying to get practical experience and learning from senior associates/partners who you admire.

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Re: current attorneys: is picking a practice area based on exit options dumb?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 18, 2016 2:10 pm

Picking a practice solely based on exit options is a dumb idea. If you're torn between a few areas then maybe consider exit options. Yes, most people won't stay in biglaw but you shouldn't go into it with the mindset you'll only last X years. If you want options, pick something you enjoy and will excel at. There are some decent restructuring exit options and IME restructuring attorneys love what they do because of how diverse it is. You're always doing something different and learning something new.

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Re: current attorneys: is picking a practice area based on exit options dumb?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:11 pm

Been practicing for 7+ years, 5 of which were at a firm and 2+ in-house. I was M&A/VC/PE while at a firm.

Most summers/juniors have no idea what it will be like to run a deal or perform work of a midlevel/senior associate, nevermind a partner. It's good to go with a practice group that you somewhat like and you get along with the partners/associates, but, IMO, you are crazy not to think about exit options. Most people can make it a few years so they have exit options or they transfer within firms if their firm is truly a sweatshop/miserable.

For every job you take, you should think about exit options, because you are very unlikely to remain at this firm/company for the rest of your career. I know too many associates who didn't think ahead and regretted limited exit options when they became midlevel/senior associates. There's no crystal ball - you might go into M&A and be limited in exit options because the economy tanks, or you might go litigation and find a great in-house gig.

Specific to your scenario, think about whether you want to remain in financial services or a law firm. I don't think you will likely work elsewhere if you go into bankruptcy. See if you can talk to some folks that went in-house after bankruptcy if you think you want to go that route eventually and ask them about their career path and what they like/dislike about their job. You really have no clue what your options are and what positions will make you happy until you talk to people in these areas...and even then it's a big crap shoot because each company/role is different. It's all a bit of a gamble, but the goal is to maximize your positioning for job options that you think you will enjoy.

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Re: current attorneys: is picking a practice area based on exit options dumb?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:40 pm

Could anyone speak to what typical exit options are for a restructuring associate?

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Re: current attorneys: is picking a practice area based on exit options dumb?

Postby Sgtpeppernyc » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:08 pm

It really is a mix. I just left a litigation job as a junior associate for a media / entertainment (mostly on the transactional side) position. I found that the senior associates / counsels were the most supportive of the move, specifically because they were not particularly thrilled with where their careers had taken them and what their exit options were. That said, I don't think some of those people would have been happy going a transactional route.

What you really need to ask yourself is, assuming the practice area gives me solid prospects for the rest of my career, would I be happy in that particular practice for the rest of my career?



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