Intellectual Stimulation in Law

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megagnarley
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Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby megagnarley » Sun May 26, 2013 6:35 pm

This has been asked before but never adequately answered. Perhaps it is unanswerable, but I will go ahead and pose the question here hoping that something interesting rattles out from those more knowledgeable than myself.

Are any areas of law known for being particularly intellectually stimulating in comparison with others?

I don't mean necessarily in year one, as substantive workloads require some experience, but rather in general as a career.

I would imagine appellate work, but that's just speculation so I'll defer to wiser minds...

Myself
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,

Postby Myself » Sun May 26, 2013 6:38 pm

.
Last edited by Myself on Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

rad lulz
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby rad lulz » Sun May 26, 2013 6:50 pm

Being a Supreme Court Justice

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megagnarley
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby megagnarley » Sun May 26, 2013 6:54 pm

And here I'd thought you were all too clever to take shots at such a slow moving target.

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Bronte
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby Bronte » Sun May 26, 2013 7:19 pm

Your question is too open-ended to elicit any definitive response. It depends, more than anything, on individual preferences. But I think, first, that practicing law will tend to be more intellectually stimulating when your practice tends to involve novel issues. Second, it will tend to be more interesting when you have more responsibility and the matter is high stakes. In that sense, the first two responses aren't too far off.

To plug a particular practice area, I will say that I think corporate restructuring is underrated.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Sun May 26, 2013 7:54 pm

Bronte wrote:Your question is too open-ended to elicit any definitive response. It depends, more than anything, on individual preferences. But I think, first, that practicing law will tend to be more intellectually stimulating when your practice tends to involve novel issues. Second, it will tend to be more interesting when you have more responsibility and the matter is high stakes. In that sense, the first two responses aren't too far off.

To plug a particular practice area, I will say that I think corporate restructuring is underrated.


Litigation is intellectually stimulating because the argument is 100% in the middle, where everything is novel. Criminal law deals with human beings on such an intimate level that it is necessarily engaging and forces you to constantly adjust your views on morality. Small firms in rural or suburban areas often behave like generalists, dabbling in this or that.

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Bronte
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby Bronte » Sun May 26, 2013 8:16 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:
Bronte wrote:Your question is too open-ended to elicit any definitive response. It depends, more than anything, on individual preferences. But I think, first, that practicing law will tend to be more intellectually stimulating when your practice tends to involve novel issues. Second, it will tend to be more interesting when you have more responsibility and the matter is high stakes. In that sense, the first two responses aren't too far off.

To plug a particular practice area, I will say that I think corporate restructuring is underrated.


Litigation is intellectually stimulating because the argument is 100% in the middle, where everything is novel. Criminal law deals with human beings on such an intimate level that it is necessarily engaging and forces you to constantly adjust your views on morality. Small firms in rural or suburban areas often behave like generalists, dabbling in this or that.


I'm not sure why you responded to me here, but I'm going to assume you're not being serious. Litigation, criminal law, and small-firm practice are not universally intellectually stimulating.

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megagnarley
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby megagnarley » Sun May 26, 2013 8:56 pm

Bronte wrote:Your question is too open-ended to elicit any definitive response. It depends, more than anything, on individual preferences. But I think, first, that practicing law will tend to be more intellectually stimulating when your practice tends to involve novel issues. Second, it will tend to be more interesting when you have more responsibility and the matter is high stakes. In that sense, the first two responses aren't too far off.

To plug a particular practice area, I will say that I think corporate restructuring is underrated.


This makes sense.

And I understand how the permutations of unknowns makes any universally definitive responses impossible. I was just wondering if certain areas might have reputations for being more or less conceptual/cerebral as compared to routine/procedural, be it DOJ antitrust work, corporate restructuring (as you stated), what have you.

Perhaps unanswerable, but thought there might be some interesting ideas.

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thesealocust
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby thesealocust » Sun May 26, 2013 11:22 pm

From what I've seen, tax (structuring, not controversy) and derivatives seem to have a deserved reputation for being nerdier practices than most. On the level firms like Wachtell operate, I imagine M&A can be extremely strategic, but I don't know that it's very accessible early on. Speaking of inaccessibly, everyone loves to say appellate lit / clerking for appellate judges as well, but appellate lit is a unicorn that either doesn't or barely exists.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, corporate securities / capital markets work can be very routine, and junior M&A + litigation lawyers can easily find themselves in eternal doc review or diligence hell which can be quite boring.

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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby rad lulz » Sun May 26, 2013 11:33 pm

,
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quakeroats
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby quakeroats » Sun May 26, 2013 11:39 pm

thesealocust wrote:From what I've seen, tax (structuring, not controversy) and derivatives seem to have a deserved reputation for being nerdier practices than most. On the level firms like Wachtell operate, I imagine M&A can be extremely strategic, but I don't know that it's very accessible early on. Speaking of inaccessibly, everyone loves to say appellate lit / clerking for appellate judges as well, but appellate lit is a unicorn that either doesn't or barely exists.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, corporate securities / capital markets work can be very routine, and junior M&A + litigation lawyers can easily find themselves in eternal doc review or diligence hell which can be quite boring.


Some of this has to do with which practices have lots of unappetizing stuff for juniors to do. As a general rule, M&A, Capital Markets, and Finance tend to be the worst on the corporate side.

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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby thesealocust » Sun May 26, 2013 11:45 pm

quakeroats wrote: As a general rule, M&A, Capital Markets, and Finance tend to be the worst on the corporate side. only three corporate practices that exist


...FTFY?

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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby quakeroats » Sun May 26, 2013 11:53 pm

thesealocust wrote:
quakeroats wrote: As a general rule, M&A, Capital Markets, and Finance tend to be the worst on the corporate side. only three corporate practices that exist


...FTFY?


You're thinking like a junior. Those are the easiest corporate practices to leverage and thus where most corporate juniors end up. There are a lot more "corporate" (i.e., non-litigation stuff involving deals, regulatory work, etc.) practices out there than these three.

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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby megagnarley » Sun May 26, 2013 11:57 pm

rad lulz wrote:
megagnarley wrote:And here I'd thought you were all too clever to take shots at such a slow moving target.

I thought you were too clever to poast in the law students' forum but here we are


Touchè.

Failed to realize the employment forum fell under that umbrella as well.

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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby quakeroats » Sun May 26, 2013 11:59 pm

Since we're on the topic of intellectually stimulating practices, here's my nomination: http://www.sullcrom.com/Financial-Insti ... Practices/

If numbers don't scare you, there's very little that's more intellectually interesting than these practices.

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megagnarley
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby megagnarley » Mon May 27, 2013 12:00 am

quakeroats wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
quakeroats wrote: As a general rule, M&A, Capital Markets, and Finance tend to be the worst on the corporate side. only three corporate practices that exist


...FTFY?


You're thinking like a junior. Those are the easiest corporate practices to leverage and thus where most corporate juniors end up. There are a lot more "corporate" (i.e., non-litigation stuff involving deals, regulatory work, etc.) practices out there than these three.


Is that to say that the other practices are inaccessible early on?

ETA: Great/bittersweet tar.

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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby quakeroats » Mon May 27, 2013 12:13 am

megagnarley wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
quakeroats wrote: As a general rule, M&A, Capital Markets, and Finance tend to be the worst on the corporate side. only three corporate practices that exist


...FTFY?


You're thinking like a junior. Those are the easiest corporate practices to leverage and thus where most corporate juniors end up. There are a lot more "corporate" (i.e., non-litigation stuff involving deals, regulatory work, etc.) practices out there than these three.


Is that to say that the other practices are inaccessible early on?

ETA: Great/bittersweet tar.


Only insofar as firms will shepherd you elsewhere. If you come in looking for a specialized practice (or have experience or lots of coursework in an area) it's usually not that difficult to make it. There's not as much work for juniors to do in, say, derivatives, tax, or banking regulation, and the learning curve is steeper. Plus, law students as a class tend to hate financy work. You can overcome this in cap markets because a lot of the junior work is stuff anyone can do. It's a lot harder to do this profitably in niche practices where it can take years to get a junior to understand even the basics. By that time, your average associate is ready to leave without having contributed like an M&A junior. Thus, you're going to one of the big corporate practices unless you can make a case otherwise.

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megagnarley
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby megagnarley » Mon May 27, 2013 12:55 am

quakeroats wrote:
megagnarley wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
...FTFY?


You're thinking like a junior. Those are the easiest corporate practices to leverage and thus where most corporate juniors end up. There are a lot more "corporate" (i.e., non-litigation stuff involving deals, regulatory work, etc.) practices out there than these three.


Is that to say that the other practices are inaccessible early on?

ETA: Great/bittersweet tar.


Only insofar as firms will shepherd you elsewhere. If you come in looking for a specialized practice (or have experience or lots of coursework in an area) it's usually not that difficult to make it. There's not as much work for juniors to do in, say, derivatives, tax, or banking regulation, and the learning curve is steeper. Plus, law students as a class tend to hate financy work. You can overcome this in cap markets because a lot of the junior work is stuff anyone can do. It's a lot harder to do this profitably in niche practices where it can take years to get a junior to understand even the basics. By that time, your average associate is ready to leave without having contributed like an M&A junior. Thus, you're going to one of the big corporate practices unless you can make a case otherwise.


Interesting.

Good insight.

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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby jwaters92 » Mon May 27, 2013 1:08 am

deleted

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thesealocust
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby thesealocust » Mon May 27, 2013 9:18 am

quakeroats wrote:Only insofar as firms will shepherd you elsewhere. If you come in looking for a specialized practice (or have experience or lots of coursework in an area) it's usually not that difficult to make it. There's not as much work for juniors to do in, say, derivatives, tax, or banking regulation, and the learning curve is steeper. Plus, law students as a class tend to hate financy work. You can overcome this in cap markets because a lot of the junior work is stuff anyone can do. It's a lot harder to do this profitably in niche practices where it can take years to get a junior to understand even the basics. By that time, your average associate is ready to leave without having contributed like an M&A junior. Thus, you're going to one of the big corporate practices unless you can make a case otherwise.


Ehhh... in my experience, if a firm has a large practice in (derivatives, tax, banking regulation, whatever) joining it is as simple as asking to do so. I certainly agree that they can have a steeper learning curve and earlier substance, but I don't think that makes it harder to get your foot in the door (assuming it's not a tiny practice run by seniors and partners, which I'm sure is true at some firms).

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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby dailygrind » Mon May 27, 2013 9:52 am


timbs4339
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby timbs4339 » Mon May 27, 2013 6:33 pm

Yes, it's a dumb question. Almost every area of law is intellectually stimulating if practiced at the right level/experience. I see guys who are 25 year veteran litigators who can't write a cogent appellate brief because their practice is almost entirely cut-and-paste omnibus pleadings, motions, and discovery requests. Some of my friends checking typos in fund disclosures will eventually (if they make partner) be forming really complex corporate structures.

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quakeroats
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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby quakeroats » Mon May 27, 2013 7:30 pm

timbs4339 wrote:Yes, it's a dumb question. Almost every area of law is intellectually stimulating if practiced at the right level/experience. I see guys who are 25 year veteran litigators who can't write a cogent appellate brief because their practice is almost entirely cut-and-paste omnibus pleadings, motions, and discovery requests. Some of my friends checking typos in fund disclosures will eventually (if they make partner) be forming really complex corporate structures.


All true. Another wrinkle: what pays and what's interesting don't necessarily line up. For example, Supreme Court litigation is the white elephant of the litigation world.

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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby utlaw2007 » Mon May 27, 2013 7:35 pm

timbs4339 wrote:Yes, it's a dumb question. Almost every area of law is intellectually stimulating if practiced at the right level/experience. I see guys who are 25 year veteran litigators who can't write a cogent appellate brief because their practice is almost entirely cut-and-paste omnibus pleadings, motions, and discovery requests. Some of my friends checking typos in fund disclosures will eventually (if they make partner) be forming really complex corporate structures.


I agree with this. And there can be very stimulating issues in litigation when it comes to whether a government entity has waived immunity or whether a claim has a certain legal classification determining if another statute is applicable or not to the present situation.


If you generalize about certain areas of law, you are just as guilty as those bad lawyers who generalize about what they do and fail to see jurisdictional issues or other issues concerning matters of law. Much of what is litigated by someone who knows what they are doing is always subject to appellate review because the issues involved are novel or theoretical.

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Re: Intellectual Stimulation in Law

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon May 27, 2013 8:10 pm

Bronte wrote:
Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:
Bronte wrote:Your question is too open-ended to elicit any definitive response. It depends, more than anything, on individual preferences. But I think, first, that practicing law will tend to be more intellectually stimulating when your practice tends to involve novel issues. Second, it will tend to be more interesting when you have more responsibility and the matter is high stakes. In that sense, the first two responses aren't too far off.

To plug a particular practice area, I will say that I think corporate restructuring is underrated.


Litigation is intellectually stimulating because the argument is 100% in the middle, where everything is novel. Criminal law deals with human beings on such an intimate level that it is necessarily engaging and forces you to constantly adjust your views on morality. Small firms in rural or suburban areas often behave like generalists, dabbling in this or that.


I'm not sure why you responded to me here, but I'm going to assume you're not being serious. Litigation, criminal law, and small-firm practice are not universally intellectually stimulating.


Responded to you because you mentioned novel issues without pointing out there every area of the law contains novel issues. And no, I was serious. "Universally" was your word though.




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