Clerkships for M&A

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
User avatar
iamgeorgebush
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:57 pm

Clerkships for M&A

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:15 pm

The conventional wisdom around here seems to be that clerkships are a bad idea for any would-be corporate lawyer. But I just read this:

Ethan A. Klingsberg, M&A Partner at Cleary Gottlieb wrote:Clerking for a trial court judge is great training to be a corporate lawyer because you get perspective on what matters and what doesn’t in a contract disagreement or in a dispute with a regulator. i clerked in the Southern district of new york, which had an important impact on my career.

(Source.)

That's an M&A partner from Cleary saying that clerking is valuable experience for a corporate lawyer. Either the Chambers-ranked M&A partner is wrong, or TLS conventional wisdom is wrong. I'm inclined to believe the Chambers-ranked M&A partner. Is there a reason I shouldn't?

Asleep
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:29 am

Re: Clerkships for M&A

Postby Asleep » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:29 pm

I think the takeaway is that clerking in SDNY might be worth it. I'm not convinced that the contract disputes that you will be dealing with in most other districts would be similar enough to the work you're doing as a corporate lawyer in biglaw to make the year worth it.

As a sidenote, my understanding is that a clerkship in Delaware court of chancery is also beneficial for folks on the corporate side.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22835
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Clerkships for M&A

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:33 am

I don't actually know anything about what is/isn't a benefit for M&A work, because I'd have a hard time defining M&A, frankly. But I'm not really sure one partner's comment based on his own experience some time ago necessarily represents today's market, either.

User avatar
jbagelboy
Posts: 9639
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Clerkships for M&A

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:01 am

Honestly, that might be true for some attorneys/judges or for juniors who have worked for that partner, but its certainly not universal and there are many star corporate partners who would advise the opposite. These are some of the contrary views I've heard expressed by corporate partners - with the caveat that I'm still pro-clerking for other reasons like what Klingsberg discusses.

First, if you've ever worked for a federal judge you'd quickly find that the work has absolutely zero overlap to the drafting/due diligence or conferencing work you do as a junior associate in m&a. Sure, it helps to know substantive corporate law, but only in the Court of Chancery would a clerk know they would be writing orders on those topics. More likely at somewhere like SDNY you'll be swamped with FLSA/IDEA/maritime/criminal motion practice as a federal clerk.

Second, there's an embedded loss in corporate practice at a large firm for taking a year or two to clerk and not be gaining skills crucial for a midlevel and senior associate: not just the mechanics of the deal and learning how to perform diligence and put together documents, but softer skills like management, team-building, making contact with key partners. To take CLS as an example, the overwhelming majority of students clerk one or two years out, not right after graduating (since most NY judges require work experience). This means you're leaving as a second or third year, and coming back as a third/fourth year who should be running a deal with a junior in a lean staffing model but now can't because you have non-applicable training.

Of course there are intellectual/career benefits to clerking that may outweigh what I've said above and it certainly shouldn't be discouraged...and for lit, ignore all the above. but I can't shake how this attitude sounds most in accumulating bells & whistles as we're all trained to do rather than making strategic moves for your chosen practice.

User avatar
Elston Gunn
Posts: 3444
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:09 pm

Re: Clerkships for M&A

Postby Elston Gunn » Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:50 am

iamgeorgebush wrote:The conventional wisdom around here seems to be that clerkships are a bad idea for any would-be corporate lawyer. But I just read this:

Ethan A. Klingsberg, M&A Partner at Cleary Gottlieb wrote:Clerking for a trial court judge is great training to be a corporate lawyer because you get perspective on what matters and what doesn’t in a contract disagreement or in a dispute with a regulator. i clerked in the Southern district of new york, which had an important impact on my career.

(Source.)

That's an M&A partner from Cleary saying that clerking is valuable experience for a corporate lawyer. Either the Chambers-ranked M&A partner is wrong, or TLS conventional wisdom is wrong. I'm inclined to believe the Chambers-ranked M&A partner. Is there a reason I shouldn't?

Most people retrospectively conclude they've made the right choices in life, especially if they consider their overall lives successful. One partner's opinion really isn't worth *that* much.

User avatar
Killingly
Posts: 1179
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:17 am

Re: Clerkships for M&A

Postby Killingly » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:12 am

A mid level I work with clerked. She liked the experience but said she felt significantly behind the curve compared to other first/second years in the practice group.

User avatar
Tiago Splitter
Posts: 15487
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:20 am

Re: Clerkships for M&A

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:55 am

Elston Gunn wrote:
iamgeorgebush wrote:The conventional wisdom around here seems to be that clerkships are a bad idea for any would-be corporate lawyer. But I just read this:

Ethan A. Klingsberg, M&A Partner at Cleary Gottlieb wrote:Clerking for a trial court judge is great training to be a corporate lawyer because you get perspective on what matters and what doesn’t in a contract disagreement or in a dispute with a regulator. i clerked in the Southern district of new york, which had an important impact on my career.

(Source.)

That's an M&A partner from Cleary saying that clerking is valuable experience for a corporate lawyer. Either the Chambers-ranked M&A partner is wrong, or TLS conventional wisdom is wrong. I'm inclined to believe the Chambers-ranked M&A partner. Is there a reason I shouldn't?

Most people retrospectively conclude they've made the right choices in life, especially if they consider their overall lives successful. One partner's opinion really isn't worth *that* much.

This is exactly it. Every corporate partner I talked to who clerked swore it was a great decision. Every one who didn't thought clerking would have been crazy.

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8445
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: Clerkships for M&A

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:33 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:This is exactly it. Every corporate partner I talked to who clerked swore it was a great decision. Every one who didn't thought clerking would have been crazy.


+1

Some firms even got a little shaky on clerkship bonuses for lawyers re-joining as transactional attorneys. But there are also big proponents of the experience (unsurprisingly, often corporate partners who themselves clerked).

IMO if the experience sounds desirable, go nuts, but there's little evidence it is a reliable career or skills bump for transactional attorneys. Obviously you never know how connections will play out, and you'll definitely learn and grow as a lawyer - just not in a materially superior way to somebody who went straight to the firm, you know?




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: shaynislegend and 7 guests