What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

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anonanonny

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What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby anonanonny » Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:35 am

Is transactional work mostly limited to big law firms? I am interested in transactional work, but these jobs seem difficult to find outside of biglaw. I really don't want to be involved in a particularly adversarial area of the law, and I know some are more adversarial than others. Any insight?

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nealric

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby nealric » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:53 am

Transactional tax is up there. Most planning is just pure problem solving with nobody on the other side. Occasionally, there will a tax point that causes friction from the other side on a deal, but it's relatively rare.

RaceJudicata

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby RaceJudicata » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:00 am

Tax based practices have to be near top of your list... Trusts & Estates, employee benefits, etc.

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby Lowndes » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:27 pm

Capital markets is not very adversarial.

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:30 pm

Some will disagree with me, but M&A in general tends to lack an adversarial component. Yes, there is a negotiation aspect, but in the end BOTH SIDES really want the deal to get done and that's what the client wants. There are sticking points that can be a point of tension, but if you (or you work under) a good attorney, they won't be the reason the deal blows up. To a client, it's the most infuriating thing when the deal blows up due to the lawyers, and not a real business/finance reason.

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:53 pm

Lowndes wrote:Capital markets is not very adversarial.


In my experience, you have to be a bad lawyer to make capital markets adversial. Both parties want same goal and small world cause you are always working with the same banks and law firms so it pays to be nice to them.

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SmokeytheBear

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Some will disagree with me, but M&A in general tends to lack an adversarial component. Yes, there is a negotiation aspect, but in the end BOTH SIDES really want the deal to get done and that's what the client wants. There are sticking points that can be a point of tension, but if you (or you work under) a good attorney, they won't be the reason the deal blows up. To a client, it's the most infuriating thing when the deal blows up due to the lawyers, and not a real business/finance reason.


I think most will disagree with you on this. There are always sticking points and it can often be tense. Especially when dealing with indemnities or other issues in the target. Sure "sticking points" won't lead to a deal "blowing up", but they may lead to the clock on the bomb getting down to six seconds to go. I have done maybe two dozen M&A deals of various sizes at different firms with different firms and not one lacked adversarial tensions.

And if opposing counsel isn't being adversarial, then the client is up your ass about something.

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Vincent Adultman

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby Vincent Adultman » Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:45 pm

I would love to know what an adversarial practice group is if M&A isn't.

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby byrdscales » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:01 pm

Trademark prosecution is pretty non-adversarial. Office action responses are basically briefs with no one on the other side. Same may be true of patent prosecution, but I have no experience there.

I also think the adversarial stuff in lit is more tolerable than the adversarial stuff in m&a work. I've been on some uncomfortable conference calls for deals, but writing an honest argument about why the other guy is wrong is never uncomfortable.

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:03 pm

anonanonny wrote:Is transactional work mostly limited to big law firms? I am interested in transactional work, but these jobs seem difficult to find outside of biglaw. I really don't want to be involved in a particularly adversarial area of the law, and I know some are more adversarial than others. Any insight?


from most adversarial to the least

trial lit > other types of lit > transactional (cap markets, m&a, etc) > consulting/ banking > academia > clerking

have you considered clerking?

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kalvano

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby kalvano » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:03 pm

Real estate and telecommunications is pretty non-adversarial.

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby lilboat » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:22 pm

Hedge funds.

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:27 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:Tax based practices have to be near top of your list... Trusts & Estates, employee benefits, etc.

Idk, this is basically M&A.

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:08 am

Patent pros is fairly non-adversarial. Writing new applications is entirely non-adversarial. Prosecuting them before the Patent Office is somewhat adversarial in the sense that you are arguing against the Examiner as to why the patent should be granted, but the Examiner is supposed to be neutral, not an "actual" opponent. There isn't a lawyer or private party on the other side pushing against you. Usually you try to work with the Examiner as much as you possibly can so the Examiner will be inclined to buy your arguments and allow your patent. No high-pressure showdowns or anything.

The exception is PTAB appeals where it's litigation lite - you file a brief, the Examiner files a brief opposing your brief, and you file a reply brief, and optionally there's a brief oral hearing before the PTAB judges - but firms usually have dedicated folks do the PTAB work.

Big caveat to all this is you need a fairly specific background to do patent pros (requires patent bar admission, for which a J.D. is neither necessary nor sufficient). And firms often want more than the bare minimum patent bar reqs in terms of background - like an advanced degree (life sciences) or industry work experience (engineering). This is NOT true of trademark pros - any lawyer can go into trademark pros.

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:Tax based practices have to be near top of your list... Trusts & Estates, employee benefits, etc.

Idk, this is basically M&A.


I was thinking more employee benefits advisory practices (e.g. Plan formation/fiduciary compliance, etc.)

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:Patent pros is fairly non-adversarial. Writing new applications is entirely non-adversarial. Prosecuting them before the Patent Office is somewhat adversarial in the sense that you are arguing against the Examiner as to why the patent should be granted, but the Examiner is supposed to be neutral, not an "actual" opponent. There isn't a lawyer or private party on the other side pushing against you. Usually you try to work with the Examiner as much as you possibly can so the Examiner will be inclined to buy your arguments and allow your patent. No high-pressure showdowns or anything.

The exception is PTAB appeals where it's litigation lite - you file a brief, the Examiner files a brief opposing your brief, and you file a reply brief, and optionally there's a brief oral hearing before the PTAB judges - but firms usually have dedicated folks do the PTAB work.

Big caveat to all this is you need a fairly specific background to do patent pros (requires patent bar admission, for which a J.D. is neither necessary nor sufficient). And firms often want more than the bare minimum patent bar reqs in terms of background - like an advanced degree (life sciences) or industry work experience (engineering). This is NOT true of trademark pros - any lawyer can go into trademark pros.


Was going to say - worked as a patent agent for a while, and - especially if you're at a smaller practice - it's very non-adversarial. As mentioned, any post-grant stuff is going to be close to 'pure lit' and even some OA Responding is competitive in that you have an adversary but... the PTO moves so slowly, it's mostly moot.

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Rahviveh

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Re: What are the least adversarial areas/environments to practice?

Postby Rahviveh » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:25 am

In capital markets every now and then you will get some dickhead with a napoleon complex that thinks their form disclosure is sooooo important!



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