Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

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JDB90

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Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

Postby JDB90 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:13 pm

Anyone in the community make a transition from big law to running his/her own business or joining a startup (or any other business) with some level of equity interest?

I'm a 2L. Many of my colleagues are looking to start or join a growing business less than 5 years out of graduation. Some have even said that they specifically enrolled in our law school to seek out entrepreneur-like initiatives (it has a large and successful business school as part of the Uni and we often do cross-school programs, including some startup initiatives). Some are going into big law to help pay off the loans directly out of school, but have an eye in the longer term for starting or joining a startup. Don't get me wrong, it's quite silly to have just an ambition without any kind of plan whatsoever, but it leads me to this question.

I'm curious if other TLSers, maybe a few years out of law school, were able to leave the big law or other corporate/employed practice and start or join something at an equity level. What industries? Any successes? Any failures? How did you make the switch? Did you do so through your law school connections? Or through initiatives started while a law student? Or later?

Stories and advice always appreciated. Thanks.

umichman

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Re: Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

Postby umichman » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:17 pm

I know a big Law 4th year tax lawyer who went on to b gc of a midsize startup

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Lincoln

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Re: Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

Postby Lincoln » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:36 pm

I know a few people who worked at firms that mainly do startup work (e.g. Gunderson Dettmer) that left to go to startups or VCs.

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Re: Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:41 pm

I'm a lit associate in a major market (non SV/SF). I've been investing into the start-up scene in my city (think NY, LA, CHI, DC).

I've dropped significant money (200k+) into 3 so far: 1 has been stagnate; 1 tanked (was bought out by another company but at lower value than what I put in); 1 has done really well (valuation at last fundraise was like 500%). I sit on the Board of the stagnate one.

It all started with just 1, then I started getting invited to local start up conferences and its somewhat easy from there. With that being said, coming in as an investor is obviously very different than coming in as an employee/co-founder.

I'm also still working in big law so I haven't made the actual transition yet.

JDB90

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Re: Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

Postby JDB90 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a lit associate in a major market (non SV/SF). I've been investing into the start-up scene in my city (think NY, LA, CHI, DC).

I've dropped significant money (200k+) into 3 so far: 1 has been stagnate; 1 tanked (was bought out by another company but at lower value than what I put in); 1 has done really well (valuation at last fundraise was like 500%). I sit on the Board of the stagnate one.

It all started with just 1, then I started getting invited to local start up conferences and its somewhat easy from there. With that being said, coming in as an investor is obviously very different than coming in as an employee/co-founder.

I'm also still working in big law so I haven't made the actual transition yet.


Are you using your salary to fund these ventures or are you part of some larger consortium? Is your longer term goal to leave the industry and do either equity investing or startup management ad a career?

Also, do you mind if I ask if you have a family? Obviously law/market pay is pretty substantial, but so is 200k equity investments into startups.

I hope the ventures lead you to great success, would enjoy PMing if you have the time. I also invested in my previous career. Didn't work so well, but I knew the risks going into it. At this stage I'm just trying to leverage what I can with the school network but was curious to hear from the community here.


Thanks everyone for all the replies, too.

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Re: Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:06 am

JDB90 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a lit associate in a major market (non SV/SF). I've been investing into the start-up scene in my city (think NY, LA, CHI, DC).

I've dropped significant money (200k+) into 3 so far: 1 has been stagnate; 1 tanked (was bought out by another company but at lower value than what I put in); 1 has done really well (valuation at last fundraise was like 500%). I sit on the Board of the stagnate one.

It all started with just 1, then I started getting invited to local start up conferences and its somewhat easy from there. With that being said, coming in as an investor is obviously very different than coming in as an employee/co-founder.

I'm also still working in big law so I haven't made the actual transition yet.


Are you using your salary to fund these ventures or are you part of some larger consortium? Is your longer term goal to leave the industry and do either equity investing or startup management ad a career?

Also, do you mind if I ask if you have a family? Obviously law/market pay is pretty substantial, but so is 200k equity investments into startups.

I hope the ventures lead you to great success, would enjoy PMing if you have the time. I also invested in my previous career. Didn't work so well, but I knew the risks going into it. At this stage I'm just trying to leverage what I can with the school network but was curious to hear from the community here.


Thanks everyone for all the replies, too.


Yep -- using my own money here. Don't have a defined long term goal here excpet to find success in both. I'd like to develop some synergy between my start-ups investments and my current big law job though. I did create minor work for our corporate group by sending one of the start-ups for the buyout stuff but total legal fees were like <7500.

I have a wife but no kids (yet). Probably won't until 3 or 4 more years. We've been doing this thing where we invest/save 100% of my salary (startups/IRAs/savings/etc) and we live off of her income (almost) completely.

edit: I think leveraging your school network is a great idea but I'd give you 1 piece of advice: it's trite, but invest (whether or money or time) in great people, not great ideas. Look for demonstrated success in other areas of the founder's professional life.

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SmokeytheBear

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Re: Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

Postby SmokeytheBear » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:16 pm

I know four or five people who did this—CCNMVP to V10 and then jumped ship to do a startup. None have done exceedingly well, but they all graduated with no debt and had family money, so they essentially have endless runways. It was also more of a lifestyle thing—they wanted to live the “entrepreneur” lifestyle in Venice, which means throwing sick parties, excelling at two hour lunches at Gjusta, and going to yoga.

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Re: Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:18 pm

Planning on leaving soon to start my own thing. Will be in near sticker debt (~$220k) but with ~100K saved up. Will be deferring federal loans.

Was: Tech related UG from big state school -> T14. Started a website with ~$1,200 revenue per month during UG. Was always entrepreneurial. IDK why I went to law school but I got exposed to bschool classes, and more entrepreneurs/mentors throughout my legal career and schooling.

Currently: 2nd year Biglaw V30; Lit.

We're at very early stage, with a beta MVP up and running. We need to keep building our website and gathering data (very heavy data-driven product, initially). We've been to many networking events with accelerators/seed funders, but we expect to bootstrap throughout the next year or two. Will be moving to a cheaper area to set up home-base and pay ~$500 in rent on a one bed. We expect that our churn will yield us roughly 2 years given our savings. If nothing pans out by then, I'll start freelancing, (Coding, resume review, teaching SATs/LSATs, Math Tutor) and doing random stuff like uber or dog walking, whatever gets me food on the table to try and last a couple more years in my "preneur".

Kind of different than the picture you paint in your OP, but thought I might be an interesting data point for you to consider.

Also, one of my best friends left a V5 at year 2 to start his own thing and is currently almost finalizing their series A funding.

lolwat

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Re: Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

Postby lolwat » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:39 pm

search for posts by, i think, PwnLaw. if I remember right, he's written extensively on this topic over the years, but hasn't been around too much recently.

BayCat24

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Re: Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

Postby BayCat24 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:10 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:I know four or five people who did this—CCNMVP to V10 and then jumped ship to do a startup. None have done exceedingly well, but they all graduated with no debt and had family money, so they essentially have endless runways. It was also more of a lifestyle thing—they wanted to live the “entrepreneur” lifestyle in Venice, which means throwing sick parties, excelling at two hour lunches at Gjusta, and going to yoga.


Did they exit in a legal capacity? Start their own company?

As someone with no debt, I would jump at the opportunity to join a start up, but I have no on-point legal experience so I would be interested in hearing about someone that was able to make that jump in some non-legal capacity.

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SmokeytheBear

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Re: Law School to Big Law to Entrepreneur

Postby SmokeytheBear » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:11 pm

BayCat24 wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:I know four or five people who did this—CCNMVP to V10 and then jumped ship to do a startup. None have done exceedingly well, but they all graduated with no debt and had family money, so they essentially have endless runways. It was also more of a lifestyle thing—they wanted to live the “entrepreneur” lifestyle in Venice, which means throwing sick parties, excelling at two hour lunches at Gjusta, and going to yoga.


Did they exit in a legal capacity? Start their own company?

As someone with no debt, I would jump at the opportunity to join a start up, but I have no on-point legal experience so I would be interested in hearing about someone that was able to make that jump in some non-legal capacity.


They started their own ventures.



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