How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

(Deciding to leave, same firm different office, Reference requests)
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How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:44 pm

I applied to law school to do something along the lines of technology transactions. I completed OCI with one offer from a good firm that I'm happy with - except it doesn't have a tech transactions practice group. I'm not upset - I'm happy with my result. But, long term, if I want to follow through on the original plan of working with tech-related companies, I will probably have to lateral to a different firm.

What are the common entry points to tech transactions groups? The firm I will work at has M&A, PE, and cap markets, and they want us to choose one by the end of next summer. Would one of those three groups leave more "doors open" for eventually potentially lateralling to a tech transactions group at a different firm?

dabigchina

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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by dabigchina » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:30 pm

Not a ttg lawyer, but I think m&a would have the most applicable skillset, given that both groups seem to be diligence heavy.

PE would also be applicable, assuming u r not talking about fund formation, which seems to be specialized and not have much in common with most other groups.

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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:26 pm

TT attorney here. the practice area is super hot in multiple markets, and often the job postings seem to be open to re-tools. My guess would be M&A or PE would be the most applicable, though anything in corporate can probably be spun the right way.

Personally, I don't really do diligence (I'm a jr), so previous commenter's statement doesn't ring true to me. My TT group is known (relative to other groups at the firm) for getting client contact and contract drafting experience earlier on than general corporate, so anywhere that sets you up for those opportunities would be good to lateral into TT.

byrdscales

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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by byrdscales » Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:25 pm

M&A or PE will be the most relevant, but neither will get you much exposure to licensing. Diligence can definitely be a big part of the work at firms where the group does mostly or a lot of deal support. At other firms, there may be more licensing work available.

I agree that a lot of the time these groups are open to someone changing practice. My group has a lot of ex-litigators for some reason.

SFSpartan

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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by SFSpartan » Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:05 pm

Both M&A and PE are relevant, but only to the extent you're getting exposure to deals where IP is actually an important/material part of the Company's value. You'll still basically be project-managing IP people, but you can at least sell that as "giving you a desire to work on more substantive IP issues" in a year or two.

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Anonymous User
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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:03 pm

SFSpartan wrote:Both M&A and PE are relevant, but only to the extent you're getting exposure to deals where IP is actually an important/material part of the Company's value. You'll still basically be project-managing IP people, but you can at least sell that as "giving you a desire to work on more substantive IP issues" in a year or two.
Definitely agree with this. To the extent that you are more focused on working with a specific type of client (i.e. tech clients), doing the M&A and PE work will be helpful for exposure to certain issues, but won't necessarily be the shoe-in work for tech or even life science work. My firm does a lot of life science and tech work, and I would say that while of course there is a need for the "deal lawyers," I think actually the securities and capital markets folks have a closer relationship to their tech and life science clients due to the need for hand-holding and general corporate ongoing work that those kinds of clients need. I would say, do the M&A work when it comes along, but I would suggest getting a good cap markets background as well.

Anon because this + my other posts will pretty clearly indicate what firm I'm at...

jagpaw

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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by jagpaw » Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:Both M&A and PE are relevant, but only to the extent you're getting exposure to deals where IP is actually an important/material part of the Company's value. You'll still basically be project-managing IP people, but you can at least sell that as "giving you a desire to work on more substantive IP issues" in a year or two.
Definitely agree with this. To the extent that you are more focused on working with a specific type of client (i.e. tech clients), doing the M&A and PE work will be helpful for exposure to certain issues, but won't necessarily be the shoe-in work for tech or even life science work. My firm does a lot of life science and tech work, and I would say that while of course there is a need for the "deal lawyers," I think actually the securities and capital markets folks have a closer relationship to their tech and life science clients due to the need for hand-holding and general corporate ongoing work that those kinds of clients need. I would say, do the M&A work when it comes along, but I would suggest getting a good cap markets background as well.

Anon because this + my other posts will pretty clearly indicate what firm I'm at...
** updated for non-anonymous reply

If you’re at Wilson Sosini, can you PM me please? Thanks.

maxiguess

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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by maxiguess » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:49 pm

You need to learn about the specific group you are applying to. I lateraled from M&A to TT, but my group has a relatively low volume of M&A work, so that background has only occasionally been useful. Project management experience is more useful because large software/implementation agreements require an understanding of resource allocation and achievable timelines. Understanding the general process of software implementation (design, build, testing, workflow development, deployment, go-live, etc.) and business risks at a high level is also extremely useful - you often have to temper client expectations and a lot of collaboration with the business is required. Any sort of business background you can highlight will be useful if the group is not entirely M&A focused.

Anonymous User
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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:37 am

jagpaw wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
SFSpartan wrote:Both M&A and PE are relevant, but only to the extent you're getting exposure to deals where IP is actually an important/material part of the Company's value. You'll still basically be project-managing IP people, but you can at least sell that as "giving you a desire to work on more substantive IP issues" in a year or two.
Definitely agree with this. To the extent that you are more focused on working with a specific type of client (i.e. tech clients), doing the M&A and PE work will be helpful for exposure to certain issues, but won't necessarily be the shoe-in work for tech or even life science work. My firm does a lot of life science and tech work, and I would say that while of course there is a need for the "deal lawyers," I think actually the securities and capital markets folks have a closer relationship to their tech and life science clients due to the need for hand-holding and general corporate ongoing work that those kinds of clients need. I would say, do the M&A work when it comes along, but I would suggest getting a good cap markets background as well.

Anon because this + my other posts will pretty clearly indicate what firm I'm at...
** updated for non-anonymous reply

If you’re at Wilson Sosini, can you PM me please? Thanks.
I am the anon you seek, and I'm not at Wilson--sorry!

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byrdscales

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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by byrdscales » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:01 am

On the anon user's point, figure out who at your firm does clients' general commercial contracts work. That kind of experience can be very helpful in tech trans, and it varies by firm who handles it.

FluidMosaic

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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by FluidMosaic » Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:52 am

Make sure you don’t get stuck in a private equity heavy firms Tech Transactions group where all you will be doing is diligence for PE deals - people I have seen in these roles have super variable hours.

notinbiglaw

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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by notinbiglaw » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:46 pm

I think cap markets and PE (not real estate focused PE) will get you most relevant experience.

I’d put even project finance ahead of M&A if goal is relevant experience for tech transactions.

Anonymous User
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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:09 am

I do TTG in the Bay Area with one of the major players (i.e., WCFG, Orrick + Goodwin). At least here, the best skill outside of commercial contracting experience, which is hard to come by outside of tech trans, is knowing how to run VC & M&A deals. I don't think what I do has any overlap with cap markets or PE. But if you're interested in a firm that doesn't have a standalone tech trans practice and does mostly/only deal support (eg, Kirkland and probably any of the rest of the traditional white shoe firms), then throw whatever I said out the window - no idea how those practices are run.

Anonymous User
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Re: How to lateral to Tech Transactions practice

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:I do TTG in the Bay Area with one of the major players (i.e., WCFG, Orrick + Goodwin). At least here, the best skill outside of commercial contracting experience, which is hard to come by outside of tech trans, is knowing how to run VC & M&A deals. I don't think what I do has any overlap with cap markets or PE. But if you're interested in a firm that doesn't have a standalone tech trans practice and does mostly/only deal support (eg, Kirkland and probably any of the rest of the traditional white shoe firms), then throw whatever I said out the window - no idea how those practices are run.
Also, I don't mean to discourage you, but it seems difficult to get into this practice group in biglaw unless you somehow swing it during your 2L SA. At my firm, we have had corp associates every year who have tried to make the transition internally with little effect. Not too sure what it's like at other firms. Try looking at smaller/midsize firms in the Bay Area/SV?

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