Mal Reynolds wrote:I agree that it really doesn't matter much what you do.
However, I will add that if you can find something like an in house position, or a government job that does some transactional work, it will help come interview time. While it will be far from determinative (meaning it probably won't get you or lose you the job), it might give you some insight into how to structure your answers and how to indicate your interest in M&A. I was in a job that did NOT do transactional work, but I emphasized the parts of my job that were like M&A work. So I said that I worked on drafting policies/reviewing contracts, got feedback from practice area-specific attorneys and incorporated that into governing documents, and that my office operated on tight deadlines that ramped up which was really exciting!!, etc.
That doesn't mean that if you worked for a judge or something 1L that you are in any way disadvantaged, but if you don't have a lot of work experience in finance or M&A, there is no reason why you shouldn't focus your 1L search towards areas which might be similar to that field. If you end up in a litigation job 1L don't worry. Just talk to some M&A attorneys over the summer and ask about their job and why they like it. Also nicely emphasize that you enjoyed litigation but your background and personality are much more suited to transactional.
But don't stress out too much about it right now. Maybe check out the who worked where list over fall break or something. Or don't. Just try to relax about 1L.
Yeah, I don't really disagree at all with what Mal's saying here. I don't think you really need to worry about this shit much until before OCI. I ended up doing M&A work over my 1L summer at a place I never would have thought I'd be doing that, so it's hard to predict. And no matter where you go/what you do, you can spin the skills to fit deal work.
All that said, most firms hire you with pretty loose practice area expectations. Selling M&A hard can be useful since it shows you've thought about the process and can put a good interview narrative together, but it's necessarily going to make or break you if that's what you want to do. There's going to be some incredulity of any law student who wants to do transactional work, unless you've worked in finance. Some interviewers think law students sell corporate because they think it's easier to get a job that way, so you get grilled. I had a partner halfway through the summer ask a group of us how the fuck we knew we wanted to do corporate.