Can we talk about the different types of law?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
toothbrush
Posts: 2388
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:21 pm

Can we talk about the different types of law?

Postby toothbrush » Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:36 am

Often on TLS it seems people say they want to work in either big law or PI post law school. I know however that within each direction there are many different types, specializations, etc. For instance, in big law there is mergers and acquisitions or securities (and more, I think)

What other types of the law are being handled when people go work in big law firms. When 2Ls get their jobs in Cravath, Dewey, Sullivan, etc (I'm just naming big firms I hear often) are they going in expecting to practice general corporate law? Is that even corporate law? Securities work is different?

And then in PI work I know being an ADA is a popular field. Presumably not everyone wants to do this sort of work that wants PI though. Does immigration law qualify? Public advocacy? Working for the federal government? Which agency's do people work for that require JD's? What type of law is practiced in these agency's?

I realize this is a ton of questions in one thread but was hoping a bit of a discussion could progress where these questions were addressed (and many more related). I'm an 0L with an idea that I want to work in big law but not quite sure what that entails - and what the other options are. People say that you don't need to know what you want to do before law school - which I understand and appreciate - but also that you should be "gunning" for your future job. For instance, if you want to be an ADA you have to do 1L and 2L internships in PI to be considered for NYC jobs, etc.

Is there a resource that 1Ls are given to explore the types of law?

Hopefully this isn't too scifiguy.

User avatar
Lavitz
Posts: 3098
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 1:39 am

Re: Can we talk about the different types of law?

Postby Lavitz » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:41 am


toothbrush
Posts: 2388
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: Can we talk about the different types of law?

Postby toothbrush » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:55 am


TYFT wow this is great.

User avatar
ScottRiqui
Posts: 3640
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:09 pm

Re: Can we talk about the different types of law?

Postby ScottRiqui » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:56 am

toothbrush wrote:

TYFT wow this is great.

User avatar
guano
Posts: 2268
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:49 am

Re: Can we talk about the different types of law?

Postby guano » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:56 am

toothbrush wrote:What other types of the law are being handled when people go work in big law firms. When 2Ls get their jobs in Cravath, Dewey, Sullivan, etc (I'm just naming big firms I hear often) are they going in expecting to practice general corporate law? Is that even corporate law? Securities work is different?

:shock:

User avatar
Bronte
Posts: 2128
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Can we talk about the different types of law?

Postby Bronte » Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:35 pm

Chambers is a good place to start, but I'll help you out with some of your big law questions.

Big law firms are so-called full-service law firms that are equipped to handle all the major legal needs of big companies. Practice areas at these firms are generally split broadly into two groups: litigation and corporate. Corporate, which is somewhat of a misnomer, is also sometimes called "transactional." In addition to litigation and corporate groups, most large firms also have a tax group, a bankruptcy group, and an intellectual-property group.

The difference between corporate practice and litigation is substantial. Litigation primarily consists of representing large companies that are suing one another or representing large companies that are being sued by consumers and smaller companies. It is characterized by discovery battles and motion practice in which the parties fight over document disclosure, take depositions, and prepare motions for summary judgment and the like. At the lowest levels it can involve drudgery like "document review," which is reading through document produced in discovery to determine whether they're responsive to the discovery request. At higher levels it can involve managing teams of attorneys, preparing motions, and taking depositions. The people at the highest levels will be dictating the overall strategy and engaging in settlement talks.

Corporate involves representing big companies doing deals, i.e., issuing stocks and bonds or undertaking mergers and acquisitions. It's hard to grasp exactly what this entails if you don't have any background. But imagine that two big public companies want to combine into one big public company. In order for this to happen someone is going to have to, at a minimum, (1) figure out how two legal entities are going to become one legal entity, (2) figure out how shareholders in one company are going to become shareholders in the other company or be cashed out, (3) make sure that one entity does not have a bunch of hidden legal liabilities ("due diligence"), (4) draft a contract that consummates this transformation, and (5) make sure the SEC and the antitrust regulators are appeased. This is loosely what deal lawyers do. You can read about it on Chambers.

The degree of specialization within the corporate and litigation groups probably depends on the firm. In my experience, litigators generally do not fall into formal sub-practice areas, but might informally develop a niche. Corporate groups are usually split into at least a capital markets group (issuance of stocks and bonds), a debt finance group (taking out big bank loans), and a mergers and acquisitions group (doing deals like the one described above). But this is all very broad strokes.

User avatar
Balthy
Posts: 668
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: Can we talk about the different types of law?

Postby Balthy » Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:52 pm

I also like the SLS Navigator:

http://slsnavigator.law.stanford.edu/




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: splitterfromhell, thaddjoog and 2 guests