Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

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Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:57 am

I'm a 3rd year in a top restructuring group looking to make a fairly dramatic change. Prior to joining the firm, I clerked for a BK court in SDNY/D. Del. and my practice is largely litigation based. Before law school I spent nearly a decade in various technology based roles for a few F500 companies. The further I get into my career, the more I realize that I miss the tech/business space. I would really like to join a tech transactions group but I fear I have wrecked my chances by not immediately going into a transactional group. I'd be willing to give up seniority for the opportunity to move. Does anyone have any insight in how to make this change or any anecdotes about people you know that have made a similar move?

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:28 pm

Current SDNY/DE clerk here. Do you not like bankruptcy work? I'm joining a firm next year in a major market.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:20 pm

know a EDNY Bankruptcy clerk who did restructuring work at major firm, then lateral internally to the group's pure finance group, which is more private equity/ investment fund/ structured products group. Inquire your firm's HR and express your heart's desire. Much easier to lateral within the firm.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby s1m4 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a 3rd year in a top restructuring group looking to make a fairly dramatic change. Prior to joining the firm, I clerked for a BK court in SDNY/D. Del. and my practice is largely litigation based. Before law school I spent nearly a decade in various technology based roles for a few F500 companies. The further I get into my career, the more I realize that I miss the tech/business space. I would really like to join a tech transactions group but I fear I have wrecked my chances by not immediately going into a transactional group. I'd be willing to give up seniority for the opportunity to move. Does anyone have any insight in how to make this change or any anecdotes about people you know that have made a similar move?


One way you can do it is to play your restructuring experience to get into an M&A group, then focus on Emerging Companies & VC work, and while there try to take on ancillary tech transaction assignments as they come up until you get more and more work and then formally transition into that department.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby kalcifer » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:26 pm

s1m4 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a 3rd year in a top restructuring group looking to make a fairly dramatic change. Prior to joining the firm, I clerked for a BK court in SDNY/D. Del. and my practice is largely litigation based. Before law school I spent nearly a decade in various technology based roles for a few F500 companies. The further I get into my career, the more I realize that I miss the tech/business space. I would really like to join a tech transactions group but I fear I have wrecked my chances by not immediately going into a transactional group. I'd be willing to give up seniority for the opportunity to move. Does anyone have any insight in how to make this change or any anecdotes about people you know that have made a similar move?


One way you can do it is to play your restructuring experience to get into an M&A group, then focus on Emerging Companies & VC work, and while there try to take on ancillary tech transaction assignments as they come up until you get more and more work and then formally transition into that department.


Honestly don't see how this could possibly work. Nvm the fact that M&A work is different form ECG work, no one will let you do tech trans work as a M&A person. That's just not how this works.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby ruski » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:47 pm

make known you are willing to take a bump down in class year. I've seen more than one bankruptcy associate retool into a new practice group by taking a bump in class year around 2013/2014 when bk groups in general slowed down. so few people actually have tech trans experience I'm sure they're open to lawyers from nonconventional practice groups especially if they can get a 3rd year for the price of a 1st or 2nd year. and your background should def give you a leg up.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby s1m4 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:55 pm

kalcifer wrote:
s1m4 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a 3rd year in a top restructuring group looking to make a fairly dramatic change. Prior to joining the firm, I clerked for a BK court in SDNY/D. Del. and my practice is largely litigation based. Before law school I spent nearly a decade in various technology based roles for a few F500 companies. The further I get into my career, the more I realize that I miss the tech/business space. I would really like to join a tech transactions group but I fear I have wrecked my chances by not immediately going into a transactional group. I'd be willing to give up seniority for the opportunity to move. Does anyone have any insight in how to make this change or any anecdotes about people you know that have made a similar move?


One way you can do it is to play your restructuring experience to get into an M&A group, then focus on Emerging Companies & VC work, and while there try to take on ancillary tech transaction assignments as they come up until you get more and more work and then formally transition into that department.


Honestly don't see how this could possibly work. Nvm the fact that M&A work is different form ECG work, no one will let you do tech trans work as a M&A person. That's just not how this works.


Thats not true - look at Associates @ Cooley, Stradling, WSGR etc.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby kalcifer » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:42 pm

s1m4 wrote:
kalcifer wrote:
s1m4 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a 3rd year in a top restructuring group looking to make a fairly dramatic change. Prior to joining the firm, I clerked for a BK court in SDNY/D. Del. and my practice is largely litigation based. Before law school I spent nearly a decade in various technology based roles for a few F500 companies. The further I get into my career, the more I realize that I miss the tech/business space. I would really like to join a tech transactions group but I fear I have wrecked my chances by not immediately going into a transactional group. I'd be willing to give up seniority for the opportunity to move. Does anyone have any insight in how to make this change or any anecdotes about people you know that have made a similar move?


One way you can do it is to play your restructuring experience to get into an M&A group, then focus on Emerging Companies & VC work, and while there try to take on ancillary tech transaction assignments as they come up until you get more and more work and then formally transition into that department.


Honestly don't see how this could possibly work. Nvm the fact that M&A work is different form ECG work, no one will let you do tech trans work as a M&A person. That's just not how this works.


Thats not true - look at Associates @ Cooley, Stradling, WSGR etc.


I am VERY familiar with them (in SV anyway)

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:34 am

Separate anon, and agreed, hard/impossible to do tech trans work while an m&a or emerging company associate. Number of reasons for that which I won’t get into.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:09 pm

I am currently looking at a partner of a large firm that does M&A/VC and tech trans - I don't want to provide a link to bio, but just curious - how do you get there? Is it a matter of switching practice groups and getting experience and then just taking on more clients in various practice groups as you become older?

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby kalcifer » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am currently looking at a partner of a large firm that does M&A/VC and tech trans - I don't want to provide a link to bio, but just curious - how do you get there? Is it a matter of switching practice groups and getting experience and then just taking on more clients in various practice groups as you become older?


It's difficult/impossible to do all 3 well. The bio might say all 3 but s/he probably does 1 of the 3 almost exclusively. This is assuming the firm is reputable.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:31 pm

Look at the WSGR website, and look at the partners that do Technology Transactions, and you will see many/most of them also list working on M&A/VC Deals.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:02 am

I am separate anon above. Will actually try to answer OP question. OP, by tech trans did you mean any emerging company m&a practice involving tech companies, or do you specifically mean the subgroup that is focused more on licensing/privacy/technology IP deal issues? If you meant the latter, think about going for certifications in that subject field, e.g. IAPP certs on privacy. Will cost you a grand or so (plus study time) to put that on your resume, not a sure thing by any means to get you that position, but likely to help you stand out and show interest.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby oblig.lawl.ref » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:Look at the WSGR website, and look at the partners that do Technology Transactions, and you will see many/most of them also list working on M&A/VC Deals.


Dude, they did that in deal support. They did not negotiate the transaction agreements. They marked up reps, provided high level advice on IP issues and staffed associates to due diligence. Tech trans at WSGR/Cooley/Fenwick DO NOT also do M&A/VC work for the most part. There are a few partners that try to dabble and hold themselves out as able to do M&A/VC/gen corp but without going into too much detail, I do not think they should be.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:56 am

oblig.lawl.ref wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Look at the WSGR website, and look at the partners that do Technology Transactions, and you will see many/most of them also list working on M&A/VC Deals.


Dude, they did that in deal support. They did not negotiate the transaction agreements. They marked up reps, provided high level advice on IP issues and staffed associates to due diligence. Tech trans at WSGR/Cooley/Fenwick DO NOT also do M&A/VC work for the most part. There are a few partners that try to dabble and hold themselves out as able to do M&A/VC/gen corp but without going into too much detail, I do not think they should be.


I'm a corp associate at a native bay area firm (WCFG), and this is completely correct. Guys, you need to stop looking at websites and ignoring what people who are actually working here are saying. tech trans is generally its own specialty group at a lot of these firms. You're not going to see a lot of people who do TTG + EC/VC/M&A etc. That's unfortunately not how it works, though tbh I don't know why. Seems like it can be integrated.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
oblig.lawl.ref wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Look at the WSGR website, and look at the partners that do Technology Transactions, and you will see many/most of them also list working on M&A/VC Deals.


Dude, they did that in deal support. They did not negotiate the transaction agreements. They marked up reps, provided high level advice on IP issues and staffed associates to due diligence. Tech trans at WSGR/Cooley/Fenwick DO NOT also do M&A/VC work for the most part. There are a few partners that try to dabble and hold themselves out as able to do M&A/VC/gen corp but without going into too much detail, I do not think they should be.


I'm a corp associate at a native bay area firm (WCFG), and this is completely correct. Guys, you need to stop looking at websites and ignoring what people who are actually working here are saying. tech trans is generally its own specialty group at a lot of these firms. You're not going to see a lot of people who do TTG + EC/VC/M&A etc. That's unfortunately not how it works, though tbh I don't know why. Seems like it can be integrated.


Agreed (Bay Area tech trans associate). Firm profiles are also often extremely broad and aren't clear about what the person actually does on a day-to-day basis. I see profiles saying partners/associates saying they do M&A/restructuring/blah blah when it's actually like mostly just VC work (or vice versa).

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby ghostoftraynor » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:30 pm

Partner bios are a huge troll. If someone is listed as tech trans and M&A, 99% of the time that means they do tech trans for M&A deals.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby ithrowds » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
oblig.lawl.ref wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Look at the WSGR website, and look at the partners that do Technology Transactions, and you will see many/most of them also list working on M&A/VC Deals.


Dude, they did that in deal support. They did not negotiate the transaction agreements. They marked up reps, provided high level advice on IP issues and staffed associates to due diligence. Tech trans at WSGR/Cooley/Fenwick DO NOT also do M&A/VC work for the most part. There are a few partners that try to dabble and hold themselves out as able to do M&A/VC/gen corp but without going into too much detail, I do not think they should be.


I'm a corp associate at a native bay area firm (WCFG), and this is completely correct. Guys, you need to stop looking at websites and ignoring what people who are actually working here are saying. tech trans is generally its own specialty group at a lot of these firms. You're not going to see a lot of people who do TTG + EC/VC/M&A etc. That's unfortunately not how it works, though tbh I don't know why. Seems like it can be integrated.


Agreed (Bay Area tech trans associate). Firm profiles are also often extremely broad and aren't clear about what the person actually does on a day-to-day basis. I see profiles saying partners/associates saying they do M&A/restructuring/blah blah when it's actually like mostly just VC work (or vice versa).


Hey, would you mind PMing me? or anyone else in this thread that does tech transactions? About to start at a firm in the Bay Area and would like some insight into the tech trans field!

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby SFSpartan » Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:10 pm

SV EC/VC associate here. Everything that the other Bay Area tech trans associates are saying is true. It's pretty rare to see an attorney that actually does both tech trans and corporate work (as opposed to being a tech trans attorney that does deal support), as both lines of work are pretty specialized.

OP - I think you are going to have some difficulty moving from bankrupcty to tech trans unless you have some specialized tech-centric business experience, or unless you're willing to take a huge class year hit. If your firm has a West Coast office, though, you might try to get transferred out there and use the transfer as an excuse to switch groups (with said class year hit). Obviously, this is going to be easier to do if you are already well-liked, etc.

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:30 pm

SFSpartan wrote:SV EC/VC associate here. Everything that the other Bay Area tech trans associates are saying is true. It's pretty rare to see an attorney that actually does both tech trans and corporate work (as opposed to being a tech trans attorney that does deal support), as both lines of work are pretty specialized.

OP - I think you are going to have some difficulty moving from bankrupcty to tech trans unless you have some specialized tech-centric business experience, or unless you're willing to take a huge class year hit. If your firm has a West Coast office, though, you might try to get transferred out there and use the transfer as an excuse to switch groups (with said class year hit). Obviously, this is going to be easier to do if you are already well-liked, etc.


Not OP - but curious if you have some insight into generally which group (EC/VC vs. Tech Trans) has more interesting work/better exit options?

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby SFSpartan » Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:SV EC/VC associate here. Everything that the other Bay Area tech trans associates are saying is true. It's pretty rare to see an attorney that actually does both tech trans and corporate work (as opposed to being a tech trans attorney that does deal support), as both lines of work are pretty specialized.

OP - I think you are going to have some difficulty moving from bankrupcty to tech trans unless you have some specialized tech-centric business experience, or unless you're willing to take a huge class year hit. If your firm has a West Coast office, though, you might try to get transferred out there and use the transfer as an excuse to switch groups (with said class year hit). Obviously, this is going to be easier to do if you are already well-liked, etc.


Not OP - but curious if you have some insight into generally which group (EC/VC vs. Tech Trans) has more interesting work/better exit options?


Sure - this post will really address exit options. Whether you find the work interesting is sort of personal (some people will be excited by commercial deals but find drafting corporate docs insanely boring and vice versa).

As a general matter, tech trans folks can generally make the move in-house earlier that EC/VC associates because tech trans will get you the practical commercial experience that is the bread and butter of an in-house role at a tech company. Because of this, tech trans is probably the way to go if you're looking for a position with a large amount of equity upside. That said, early-stage startups can be volatile places to work, and you might not take a huge haircut on hours in re: biglaw.

IME, corp. associates become more valuable later on in their careers, as they have more experience with a Company's inflection points (i.e. big debt and financing deals, going public, etc.), and so are better equipped than a tech trans associate to advise on the terms of those big deals.

Personally, I think that SV firms would be doing a huge favor to their associates by mixing the EC/VC and tech trans practices for the first three years or so - it's hugely helpful to have knowledge of the commercial side of a Company as a corporate lawyer and vice versa. However, this doesn't happen because it isn't in the interest of law firms (as they can charge more $$$ for associates by having them specialize early in their careers).

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:57 pm

SFSpartan wrote:
Sure - this post will really address exit options. Whether you find the work interesting is sort of personal (some people will be excited by commercial deals but find drafting corporate docs insanely boring and vice versa).

As a general matter, tech trans folks can generally make the move in-house earlier that EC/VC associates because tech trans will get you the practical commercial experience that is the bread and butter of an in-house role at a tech company. Because of this, tech trans is probably the way to go if you're looking for a position with a large amount of equity upside. That said, early-stage startups can be volatile places to work, and you might not take a huge haircut on hours in re: biglaw.

IME, corp. associates become more valuable later on in their careers, as they have more experience with a Company's inflection points (i.e. big debt and financing deals, going public, etc.), and so are better equipped than a tech trans associate to advise on the terms of those big deals.

Personally, I think that SV firms would be doing a huge favor to their associates by mixing the EC/VC and tech trans practices for the first three years or so - it's hugely helpful to have knowledge of the commercial side of a Company as a corporate lawyer and vice versa. However, this doesn't happen because it isn't in the interest of law firms (as they can charge more $$$ for associates by having them specialize early in their careers).


Thanks for this! This is super helpful. Do you know if there are firms in SV where they do allow associates to do a bit of both? Also, if you started in EC/VC, would it be easy to make the switch to a tech trans group or vice versa?

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Re: Restructuring to Tech Trans (or other transactional groups)

Postby SFSpartan » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:40 pm

I know WSGR allows associates to do a rotation through a couple groups during their first 2 years, but I honestly don't know much about the particulars of the Launch program. Honestly, you're probably going to have trouble finding biglaw firms that really allow their associates to do both, as it is much better for the firm's bottom line if associates specialize fairly early on. If you want to do both, your best bet is to look for a smaller shop or a boutique firm, though that comes with trade-offs as well (small groups make it hard to hide from difficult partners, smaller firms may not have the deal volume that big firms do, etc.)



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