Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

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blind bomber
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Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby blind bomber » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:25 am

Hi guys,

I just finished my 1L year and will be going through OCI in a month and this question hit me. I know applications for clerkships won't go out until next year but if I know that I will be going for a transactional or tax type position, is a clerkship something I should also consider? Will firms defer your start date if you are offered a position after 2L SA in order to pursue a clerkship? Basically, I am just wondering about the value of a clerkship for transactional attorney's.

Thanks!

bdubs
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby bdubs » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:32 am

blind bomber wrote:Hi guys,

I just finished my 1L year and will be going through OCI in a month and this question hit me. I know applications for clerkships won't go out until next year but if I know that I will be going for a transactional or tax type position, is a clerkship something I should also consider? Will firms defer your start date if you are offered a position after 2L SA in order to pursue a clerkship? Basically, I am just wondering about the value of a clerkship for transactional attorney's.

Thanks!


You can clerk in DC in the US tax court, I'd bet that would probably benefit you in tax practice.

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Horchata
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby Horchata » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:35 pm

Although I'm an 0L, when I went to a student orientation at USC (attending) they had a panel of SC alumni who answered questions. I specifically asked them if doing a clerkship would help with a transactional practice. A partner at a firm only stated that it would be very beneficial in the hiring process; usually even merit of a bonus. She didn't mention anything about how it would it would train you to be a transactional lawyer, though. HTH

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DelDad
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby DelDad » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:40 pm

I clerk on the Delaware Court of Chancery, which is just about the ideal clerkship for a transactional lawyer who wants to do one. Between the subject matter (nothing like seeing the prblems that cause a deal to fall apart for learning how to put them together properly) to the emphasis on precise writing, it's been a great experience.

blind bomber
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby blind bomber » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:56 pm

Thanks guys, I can see how tax court or chancery would benefit, not sure about general appellate practice even if it is at federal level. It obviously is great experience and carries with you forever, but if you are offered a position in big law or other decent size firm at market pay after 2L SA, then why go the appellate court route? I have heard of firms who let their associates take a year off to clerk. IDK.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:02 pm

It's a good experience that allows you to build connections that will go forward into your career, but there's no doubt that clerkships are not as "practically beneficial" for a transactional person. You should keep in mind that a single clerkship is "fairly cheap" though: if your firm pays the standard $50k clerkship bonus, and starts you as a second-year associate, after tax, the clerkship ends up costing about $33k (for Chicago CoA -> Chicago biglaw). Certainly not costless, but you aren't losing a huge amount of money either.

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thesealocust
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:21 am

ToTransferOrNot wrote:It's a good experience that allows you to build connections that will go forward into your career, but there's no doubt that clerkships are not as "practically beneficial" for a transactional person. You should keep in mind that a single clerkship is "fairly cheap" though: if your firm pays the standard $50k clerkship bonus, and starts you as a second-year associate, after tax, the clerkship ends up costing about $33k (for Chicago CoA -> Chicago biglaw). Certainly not costless, but you aren't losing a huge amount of money either.


+1. Talking with partners they're somewhat divided on the utility. A few blunt corporate partners told me they thought clerkships were useless and resented paying bonuses to people who did them. A few corporate partners thought clerkships were the bees-knees and made better writers and thinkers.

It's a very personal decision, unlike in lit, where it's probably an objectively good (if not mandatory) idea.

Renzo
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby Renzo » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:26 pm

blind bomber wrote:Thanks guys, I can see how tax court or chancery would benefit, not sure about general appellate practice even if it is at federal level. It obviously is great experience and carries with you forever, but if you are offered a position in big law or other decent size firm at market pay after 2L SA, then why go the appellate court route? I have heard of firms who let their associates take a year off to clerk. IDK.


Plenty of firms don't pay clerkship bonuses to those joining transactional practices, and it wouldn't surprise me if those same firms don't hold offers open to clerks who want to come back and be transactional lawyers. After all, you could join a litigation group as a second year associate post-clerkship and probably know more about litigation than your classmates; but if you come from a clerkship to a transactional practice, you are going to be a year behind everyone else in learning to do your job. Why would firms encourage that?

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thesealocust
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:31 pm

Renzo wrote:
blind bomber wrote:Why would firms encourage that?


I believe the #1 reason is the same one that explains a lot in biglaw decision making: fear that if they didn't, their yield rate / potential applicant pool would take a hit. Beyond that some partners definitely feel like it's a good life experience and would probably vote to keep it around economics be damned.

Renzo
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby Renzo » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:36 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Renzo wrote:
blind bomber wrote:Why would firms encourage that?


I believe the #1 reason is the same one that explains a lot in biglaw decision making: fear that if they didn't, their yield rate / potential applicant pool would take a hit. Beyond that some partners definitely feel like it's a good life experience and would probably vote to keep it around economics be damned.


Sorry, I realize why firms do it. I was using a rhetorical device to express that if I had a law firm, it would be in the group that doesn't. I'd hire a post-clerk for a transactional practice, but I'm not giving them a bonus, and I'm even on the fence about class-year credit.

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thesealocust
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:40 pm

We should start a Junior Anti-Clerkship League.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:18 pm

Renzo wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Renzo wrote:
blind bomber wrote:Why would firms encourage that?


I believe the #1 reason is the same one that explains a lot in biglaw decision making: fear that if they didn't, their yield rate / potential applicant pool would take a hit. Beyond that some partners definitely feel like it's a good life experience and would probably vote to keep it around economics be damned.


Sorry, I realize why firms do it. I was using a rhetorical device to express that if I had a law firm, it would be in the group that doesn't. I'd hire a post-clerk for a transactional practice, but I'm not giving them a bonus, and I'm even on the fence about class-year credit.


Then you wouldn't be hiring any post-clerks, unless your firm was Wachtell.

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thesealocust
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:25 pm

Wachtell, Lipton, Renzo & Katz.

FranklinButNotBash
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby FranklinButNotBash » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:10 pm

Then you wouldn't be hiring any post-clerks, unless your firm was Wachtell.[/quote]


Please explain. 0L here

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:14 pm

FranklinButNotBash wrote:Then you wouldn't be hiring any post-clerks, unless your firm was Wachtell.



Please explain. 0L here[/quote]

No post-clerk in their right mind would give up a $50k bonus and stepped-up class year for any firm aside from ~Wachtell. (According to NALP, Wachtell actually doesn't pay a clerkship bonus; but, because Wachtell pays so much more than everyone else, it evens out.)

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thesealocust
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:15 pm

FranklinButNotBash wrote:
Then you wouldn't be hiring any post-clerks, unless your firm was Wachtell.



Please explain. 0L here


Almost every large law firm offers a lock-step $50,000 bonus to clerks who join the firm after a 1-year clerkship (market is $70,000 for 2 year's worth and $250,000 for the handful of Supreme Court clerks). This is given out without regard to where the clerkship was (though most limit it to federal or state supreme court level + federal) or what practice area the new associate is going into.

One amusing exception is the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. They pay enormous salaries (salary matches most big firms but bonuses can reach 100% of base salary whereas most other firms rarely pay more than ~20% or so) but I believe have less generous (or perhaps non-existent) clerkship bonuses. They're also a narrowly focused firm with a heavy emphasis on corporate transactions (actually almost exclusively M&A).

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:19 pm

thesealocust wrote:
FranklinButNotBash wrote:
Then you wouldn't be hiring any post-clerks, unless your firm was Wachtell.



Please explain. 0L here


Almost every large law firm offers a lock-step $50,000 bonus to clerks who join the firm after a 1-year clerkship (market is $70,000 for 2 year's worth and $250,000 for the handful of Supreme Court clerks). This is given out without regard to where the clerkship was (though most limit it to federal or state supreme court level + federal) or what practice area the new associate is going into.

One amusing exception is the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. They pay enormous salaries (salary matches most big firms but bonuses can reach 100% of base salary whereas most other firms rarely pay more than ~20% or so) but I believe have less generous (or perhaps non-existent) clerkship bonuses. They're also a narrowly focused firm with a heavy emphasis on corporate transactions (actually almost exclusively M&A).


Also a really, really, really good - possibly the best - creditor-side bankruptcy practice. Clerkships would actually be quite helpful for creditor-side BR work, but they're Wachtell, so they can pull clerks even without the bonus. So it goes.

Edit: Also, Wachtell's base pay is actually slightly above market ($165k for first-years,) plus, they still have benefits (i.e. a matching 401k) that most firms have dropped.

Renzo
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby Renzo » Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:03 pm

thesealocust wrote:
FranklinButNotBash wrote:
Then you wouldn't be hiring any post-clerks, unless your firm was Wachtell.



Please explain. 0L here


Almost every large law firm offers a lock-step $50,000 bonus to clerks who join the firm after a 1-year clerkship (market is $70,000 for 2 year's worth and $250,000 for the handful of Supreme Court clerks). This is given out without regard to where the clerkship was (though most limit it to federal or state supreme court level + federal) or what practice area the new associate is going into.

One amusing exception is the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. They pay enormous salaries (salary matches most big firms but bonuses can reach 100% of base salary whereas most other firms rarely pay more than ~20% or so) but I believe have less generous (or perhaps non-existent) clerkship bonuses. They're also a narrowly focused firm with a heavy emphasis on corporate transactions (actually almost exclusively M&A).


The bolded is just not true; that's why I said my firm would be one of the [many] firms that don't. I don't have time to figure it out precisely, but my rough guess is 20% or more of the V100 don't give across the board, lockstep class-year credit and bonus to transactional attorneys.

Some firms would feel like they're missing out not hiring post-clerks to do deal work; I'd feel like I was getting associates who can figure out what they want to do with their lives.

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thesealocust
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:05 pm

Renzo wrote:The bolded is just not true; that's why I said my firm would be one of the [many] firms that don't.


Interesting, I had no idea and glossed over that in your original post. Makes sense though.

Renzo
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Re: Clerkships for transactional lawyers??

Postby Renzo » Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:17 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Renzo wrote:The bolded is just not true; that's why I said my firm would be one of the [many] firms that don't.


Interesting, I had no idea and glossed over that in your original post. Makes sense though.


To be fair, I don't know of any that completely refuse class credit and bonus; but I know of firms that give one or the other, and firms that say it's "case by case," whatever that means.

And, as an aside, guess what my default question was when there was a lull in the conversation at all the firms' 1L recruiting events? Yep. And the answer is almost always, "uh, I don't know, but that lady over there is with recruiting, and she could tell you."




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