Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

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Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:38 am

You rarely hear about folks who are passionate about and/or happy about being a corporate lawyer. There's always negativity. I hear about this more in transactional specialties like entertainment or startup law. Would love to hear from folks who love what they do as a corporate lawyer and why.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:03 pm

soon to be 5th year nyc corporate associate here. started at biglaw and now at a firm that does more midmarket work. I like my job, but don't really like the work I do. to elaborate, reviewing and drafting contracts and reading dense materials is super boring and tedious, especially when the opposing side is difficult to work with and argues over every point. but what i do like is having my own office in my 20s (almost impossible in nyc except in law). i think people underestimate how great it is to have privacy, and to be in a position where no one knows every time you get up and come back (impossible in cubicle/open floor setup); as I'm decently senior now and run most of my own matters i like that i have a decent amount of control over my schedule - unless there is a fire drill or some emergency i can front load or push off work as need to be to fit my schedule; i like the team i work with and my partners are really great guys; i like that at this point i actually know more than my clients and its nice having people call you and rely on your advice; last but not least i like the pay which is very nice. so as you see, the job is honestly great, especially if you find some nice gig outside your typical biglaw firm, but the work still sucks.

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deepseapartners

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby deepseapartners » Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:28 pm

Good luck finding this person. In my experience, even (maybe especially) partners are upfront that the best part of their job is the paycheck.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby umichman » Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:34 pm

deepseapartners wrote:Good luck finding this person. In my experience, even (maybe especially) partners are upfront that the best part of their job is the paycheck.


Is this law generally u think? Or are there happy people in other groups like tax/bankruptcy /litigation /real estate? Wondering if you think this is corporate as in general corporate or just transactional?

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deepseapartners

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby deepseapartners » Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:41 pm

umichman wrote:
deepseapartners wrote:Good luck finding this person. In my experience, even (maybe especially) partners are upfront that the best part of their job is the paycheck.


Is this law generally u think? Or are there happy people in other groups like tax/bankruptcy /litigation /real estate? Wondering if you think this is corporate as in general corporate or just transactional?

Plenty of lawyers really like their jobs or feel really passionately that they are doing good work, but these people are not corporate lawyers. Anon above is probably the closest example to someone liking their job that you'll find, i.e. they really like the environment/perks but find the substantive work tedious at best.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby iliketurtles123 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:soon to be 5th year nyc corporate associate here. started at biglaw and now at a firm that does more midmarket work. I like my job, but don't really like the work I do. to elaborate, reviewing and drafting contracts and reading dense materials is super boring and tedious, especially when the opposing side is difficult to work with and argues over every point. but what i do like is having my own office in my 20s (almost impossible in nyc except in law). i think people underestimate how great it is to have privacy, and to be in a position where no one knows every time you get up and come back (impossible in cubicle/open floor setup); as I'm decently senior now and run most of my own matters i like that i have a decent amount of control over my schedule - unless there is a fire drill or some emergency i can front load or push off work as need to be to fit my schedule; i like the team i work with and my partners are really great guys; i like that at this point i actually know more than my clients and its nice having people call you and rely on your advice; last but not least i like the pay which is very nice. so as you see, the job is honestly great, especially if you find some nice gig outside your typical biglaw firm, but the work still sucks.



Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

I like the idea of being able to front load or push off work to accommodate your schedule. I don't mind long hours as long as I can control them. What practice are you in? is this typical of other corporate practice areas? and at what year do you get this level of control?

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:06 pm

iliketurtles123 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:soon to be 5th year nyc corporate associate here. started at biglaw and now at a firm that does more midmarket work. I like my job, but don't really like the work I do. to elaborate, reviewing and drafting contracts and reading dense materials is super boring and tedious, especially when the opposing side is difficult to work with and argues over every point. but what i do like is having my own office in my 20s (almost impossible in nyc except in law). i think people underestimate how great it is to have privacy, and to be in a position where no one knows every time you get up and come back (impossible in cubicle/open floor setup); as I'm decently senior now and run most of my own matters i like that i have a decent amount of control over my schedule - unless there is a fire drill or some emergency i can front load or push off work as need to be to fit my schedule; i like the team i work with and my partners are really great guys; i like that at this point i actually know more than my clients and its nice having people call you and rely on your advice; last but not least i like the pay which is very nice. so as you see, the job is honestly great, especially if you find some nice gig outside your typical biglaw firm, but the work still sucks.



Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

I like the idea of being able to front load or push off work to accommodate your schedule. I don't mind long hours as long as I can control them. What practice are you in? is this typical of other corporate practice areas? and at what year do you get this level of control?


I am in finance. of course you can't always control your schedule (demanding clients, fire drills, opposing counsel that leaves things to last minute, etc). but since I'm running my deal there are basically no "fake" deadlines that a lot of times you get as juniors, and im senior enough to know what really is urgent and what isn't, so basically i only end up staying late when really necessary.

i can't really speak to other practice areas. to an extent, i suppose it matters more what the dynamics of the practice group are rather than actually the practice itself (for example, my partners are very hands off, which helps).

at what year do you get this level of control? whenever you are ready for it. most partners/seniors in a busy group are more than happy to delegate work to whoever can handle it. you get there by basically making no mistakes as a junior. unfortunately in my experience most juniors suck and have no problem handing in bad work product; they know you will fix it up and they just want to get out by 7pm. take ownership of your work, do a good job, and the responsibility will come.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby iliketurtles123 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
iliketurtles123 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:soon to be 5th year nyc corporate associate here. started at biglaw and now at a firm that does more midmarket work. I like my job, but don't really like the work I do. to elaborate, reviewing and drafting contracts and reading dense materials is super boring and tedious, especially when the opposing side is difficult to work with and argues over every point. but what i do like is having my own office in my 20s (almost impossible in nyc except in law). i think people underestimate how great it is to have privacy, and to be in a position where no one knows every time you get up and come back (impossible in cubicle/open floor setup); as I'm decently senior now and run most of my own matters i like that i have a decent amount of control over my schedule - unless there is a fire drill or some emergency i can front load or push off work as need to be to fit my schedule; i like the team i work with and my partners are really great guys; i like that at this point i actually know more than my clients and its nice having people call you and rely on your advice; last but not least i like the pay which is very nice. so as you see, the job is honestly great, especially if you find some nice gig outside your typical biglaw firm, but the work still sucks.



Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

I like the idea of being able to front load or push off work to accommodate your schedule. I don't mind long hours as long as I can control them. What practice are you in? is this typical of other corporate practice areas? and at what year do you get this level of control?


I am in finance. of course you can't always control your schedule (demanding clients, fire drills, opposing counsel that leaves things to last minute, etc). but since I'm running my deal there are basically no "fake" deadlines that a lot of times you get as juniors, and im senior enough to know what really is urgent and what isn't, so basically i only end up staying late when really necessary.

i can't really speak to other practice areas. to an extent, i suppose it matters more what the dynamics of the practice group are rather than actually the practice itself (for example, my partners are very hands off, which helps).

at what year do you get this level of control? whenever you are ready for it. most partners/seniors in a busy group are more than happy to delegate work to whoever can handle it. you get there by basically making no mistakes as a junior. unfortunately in my experience most juniors suck and have no problem handing in bad work product; they know you will fix it up and they just want to get out by 7pm. take ownership of your work, do a good job, and the responsibility will come.


Solid advice. Thanks. Will remember this.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby zot1 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You rarely hear about folks who are passionate about and/or happy about being a corporate lawyer. There's always negativity. I hear about this more in transactional specialties like entertainment or startup law. Would love to hear from folks who love what they do as a corporate lawyer and why.


Chances are there's a reason for that.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby 1styearlateral » Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:54 pm

A little more in-depth/depressing than what OP is asking, but in case OP or other readers haven't seen this yet, it's a good read (I found it interesting, at least, but can't relate because I'm in litigation): viewtopic.php?f=4&t=261392

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby favabeansoup » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:soon to be 5th year nyc corporate associate here. started at biglaw and now at a firm that does more midmarket work. I like my job, but don't really like the work I do. to elaborate, reviewing and drafting contracts and reading dense materials is super boring and tedious, especially when the opposing side is difficult to work with and argues over every point. but what i do like is having my own office in my 20s (almost impossible in nyc except in law). i think people underestimate how great it is to have privacy, and to be in a position where no one knows every time you get up and come back (impossible in cubicle/open floor setup); as I'm decently senior now and run most of my own matters i like that i have a decent amount of control over my schedule - unless there is a fire drill or some emergency i can front load or push off work as need to be to fit my schedule; i like the team i work with and my partners are really great guys; i like that at this point i actually know more than my clients and its nice having people call you and rely on your advice; last but not least i like the pay which is very nice. so as you see, the job is honestly great, especially if you find some nice gig outside your typical biglaw firm, but the work still sucks.



This is a good description of the benefits of doing corporate work. You have to really look deep for someone that likes "the work" of corporate/transactional. You are a glorified paper pusher, there is no getting around that. At least in litigation you can see some crazier stuff every now and then.

Does super boring and tedious = bad, though? I don't think so. You get paid extravagantly well, in non-NYC markets (or midlaw) you get your own office. You often work with intelligent people who aren't the strong type A personalities that litigation can attract. Schedule is better than litigation except for fire drill moments. My exit options in a few years will be much better than my litigation friends. Clients like talking to you more than they like talking to their litigation counsel.

The work is a means to an end, and that end happens to have some pretty nice perks to go along with it.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby shock259 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:35 pm

Lawyers love complaining, and shitting on our profession is one of the favorite pastimes.

3rd year here. The demands this job makes on my personal and social life are horrible. It's what will eventually compel me to leave. But overall, I've enjoyed my time as an associate. Sounds cliche but I enjoy that I'm challenged every day. It'll be many more years until I feel truly comfortable with the documents I regularly work with. That's fun. And it's quite satisfying to push hard through a shitty deal with a ridiculous time frame and still close on time. The partner and/or the client call with praise at the end helps. For now, at least. Oh, and the paycheck.

Mindless jobs are the worst. I just wish (a) the stress level wasn't so high in big law and (b) I could bill less. If I could somehow work that magic and keep the rest, I'd do this forever.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:25 pm

Midlevel tech transactions associate in Bay Area and I actually like my job. My work is split between supporting M&A/venture financings and drafting/negotiating licensing/commercial agreements. Is the work super engrossing? Not particularly, but it is fairly intellectually stimulating and interesting enough. A large number of my clients are startups, so often I need to advise on business-type concerns in addition to purely legal ones. The pay is obviously good and the hours aren't bad. Typically, I bill ~2000 hours a year. I usually come in around 9 and leave by 6-7. Firm has no issue with working from home, so I only come into the office 3-4 days a week. If there is a deal that is moving quickly, I'll stay late/work weekends, but that only happens a couple times a month. I have a fair amount of control over my schedule. If I get sent something that merits more than a simple email response, it's not really expected that I get back to them that evening. I would like to note that the strictly corporate folks at my firm don't really seem to like what they do as much. I get emails from them at all hours of the day.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby Nebby » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:28 pm

"Things no one says for 500, please."

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:58 pm

I'm passionate about being able to bounce to a cushy job.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby longtimelurker123 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:06 pm

I'm in internal investigations and I love it. No long hours, awesome people. I get to travel to cool (and uncool) places to interview people and poke around the company to determine who messed up.

Since internal investigations is non-adversarial, it's less stressful and theres softer deadlines from the client which translates down the line to me. I also get to do a lot of interviewing and get a lot of autonomy as a junior asociate. If we're interviewing any non C-suite person or VP level employee, I'll be running the interview and the partner and senior associate will be facebooking on their laptops or whatever (not relaly, but theyre usually zoning out or responding to emails).

There's some doc review which is normally boring, but its not bad at all when you're the one who asked for the document(s).

A lot of times, I'm just uncovering office drama which led to whatever violation or complaint I'm investigating which is hilarious too.

The cons? I have zero chance of partner going the typical 8 years route. There is no way to get clients without going into the government and establishing yourself as someone who has run prestigious gov. investigations before.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby jkpolk » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:22 pm

I'm at a pretty good NY firm doing mostly M&A.

The job has high highs and LOW lows.

Highs:

The feeling of closing a deal after working long and hard is really only comparable to sports, it feels like you won a championship and you get to celebrate with your deal team (fun to see people out of the office and relaxed). This lasts like a night and occurs maybe once every 3-6 months. Sometimes I feel proud when I do a good job and make my bosses look good.

Lows:

The feeling of staying up for 2 or 3 days on end or having to cancel life events or having to redo something for the 50th time because some moron at the client can't make up their mind and is micromanaging the fuck out of you or just generally realizing that your clients are idiots but have way better jobs/lives than you do. Realizing that you really are a glorified scribe and your "value add" is extremely limited in the big, "cool" deals (even "extremely limited" is debatable).

I agree that it's a pretty easy job and relatively difficult to get fired when the market is good to ok. But the lows SUCK. I'll get out of law eventually because I just won't be able to deal with the lows anymore but until then I try to stay balanced, do my job, keep my head down. It's just a job.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby TLSModBot » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:38 pm

When we say "corporate" are we equating that with "M&A"

Because I'd agree with everyone above if so, but there are deal-side specialist groups that have it pretty damn good comparatively (finance, tax, Antitrust)

M&A deal I recently signed on to:
Associate: so hey this'll be an easy one. No real deadlines right now
(Literally 2 hours later): Actually everything exploded and we need to work primarily on this. Also on Saturday. And Sunday. And get in early on Monday so we can give you even more.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:49 am

Capitol_Idea wrote:When we say "corporate" are we equating that with "M&A"

Because I'd agree with everyone above if so, but there are deal-side specialist groups that have it pretty damn good comparatively (finance, tax, Antitrust)

M&A deal I recently signed on to:
Associate: so hey this'll be an easy one. No real deadlines right now
(Literally 2 hours later): Actually everything exploded and we need to work primarily on this. Also on Saturday. And Sunday. And get in early on Monday so we can give you even more.


This sounds about right. For leveraged finance/M&A deals, it's constant fire drills.

Pros in general:
- Paycheck, although it's arguably low if you live in a high COL area and have student loans
- Supposed in house exit options after 5 years (which may or may not suck)

Cons:
- Unpredictable hours
- Constant fire drills
- Constant stress (high stress during fire drills; lower stress when waiting to get documents back)
- Long hours - frequent night/weekend work
- Work can be extremely boring and tedious, require constant attention to detail even if you've been up for 20 hours. It doesn't require that much intelligence - just a lot of grinding.
- LONG documents - one agreement can be 200-300 pages, and you may have multiple agreements in one deal.
- A lot of seniors are crazy workaholics, which makes it worse
- Every assignment seems like sink or swim

The high stress and constant fire drills/unpredictability are the worst IMO. I think being stressed out 90% of the time is typically the norm in biglaw.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:18 am

Lol @ OP
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby TLSModBot » Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:37 am

I hear public company M&A is a little better than Private but I have no experience to back that up personally

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby sawyercb » Thu Nov 17, 2016 10:53 am

jkpolk wrote:I'm at a pretty good NY firm doing mostly M&A.

The job has high highs and LOW lows.

Highs:

The feeling of closing a deal after working long and hard is really only comparable to sports, it feels like you won a championship and you get to celebrate with your deal team (fun to see people out of the office and relaxed). This lasts like a night and occurs maybe once every 3-6 months. Sometimes I feel proud when I do a good job and make my bosses look good.


I've heard about deal parties / dinners and they sound cool. FWIW, I think this only occurs in NYC (anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). I was in corporate tax at a major firm in the Northeast (non-NYC), and never saw my corporate colleagues do this at my firm or any other firm.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:07 am

My firm is non-NYC and I've done one in the past year, but it was for a very important client and was probably our last deal with them.
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby kalvano » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Midlevel tech transactions associate in Bay Area and I actually like my job. My work is split between supporting M&A/venture financings and drafting/negotiating licensing/commercial agreements. Is the work super engrossing? Not particularly, but it is fairly intellectually stimulating and interesting enough. A large number of my clients are startups, so often I need to advise on business-type concerns in addition to purely legal ones. The pay is obviously good and the hours aren't bad. Typically, I bill ~2000 hours a year. I usually come in around 9 and leave by 6-7. Firm has no issue with working from home, so I only come into the office 3-4 days a week. If there is a deal that is moving quickly, I'll stay late/work weekends, but that only happens a couple times a month. I have a fair amount of control over my schedule. If I get sent something that merits more than a simple email response, it's not really expected that I get back to them that evening. I would like to note that the strictly corporate folks at my firm don't really seem to like what they do as much. I get emails from them at all hours of the day.


Would you mind PM'ing me when you have a moment?

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Re: Passionate or happy about Corporate Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:10 pm

Being a corporate lawyer is about as miserable as it gets in terms of job satisfaction. There are some people who love it, they love the grind, the love doing good work and getting praise from senior attorneys and clients, however, if other people praising you is not what your life is about, transactional practices can be an extremely miserable experience. Ultimately, you have to figure out what is important to you. I'm here to pay off debt and figure out what I want to do after my giant mistake of a legal career is over, but if you value having a steady, extremely high, paycheck and don't mind having zero control over your life (i.e. ability to exercise, sleep, relax, not feel anxious 24-7) then corporate practice is probably fine for you.

Also, in NYC, most high paying jobs are going to be terrible, not just law. Consulting, banking, even in-house at banks, are all pretty soul sucking. Seems like NYC is a different level when it comes to people attracted to these jobs (meaning, they are crazy people who care about little other than money).



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