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Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:55 pm
by Anonymous User
I'm a Biglaw junior. Want to switch practice areas. Please give me your thoughts and experiences. I'm going to vent/vomit my thoughts a little below - feel free to tell me you agree or disagree:

General consensus that, for example, fund formations is quite technical, hours overall bad, and quite useless to do anything else. Even leaving for a fund isn't easy and quality of life in a fund is pretty bad; often as bad, if not worse, than BigLaw.
Structured finance is awful and the deals are cookie cutter, very cyclical, limited to zero exit options. Leveraged finance is more interesting imo, more complex docs, more varied, more PM work, but ultimately hours are mostly super long, exits are pretty crappy (unless you want to keep going till partner or working in a bank), it's just pushing paper and herding cats.

I feel that M&A, investigations, financial regulatory and employment are the "best".

M&A is, yes, more due diligence, doc review and mindnumbing paper pushing, the docs less complex, and generally much better exits than lev fin, infinitely better than anything in structured finance. Lateral market in my market also a bit better than lev fin. M&A hours at my firm definitely quieter than finance overall.

(Gov) investigations (/white collar) - people say it's just doc review, but that's a disservice because the work is incredibly interesting. Lot of interviews, memos, interesting subject matter, big international bribery cases - hours aren't the worst. Traveling for work isn't all that great, but great overall for Biglaw practice area, I think a lot of people just don't know of it or can't get it. Market for it is small so exits are good but niche and mostly no one outside of it knows about them.

Reg seems pretty interesting; split between directly advising e.g. funds and banks on compliance and transactional work e.g. supporting M&A on compliance diligence and contract review. Hours more steady, less pressured than transactional, seems pretty chill.

E'ment is good for a number of reasons, but the market for it is tiny in Biglaw in my market and hard to get compared to the others listed. In my firm and others I know of, it's too much corporate support for me, might as well be in corporate tbh.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:19 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a Biglaw junior. Want to switch practice areas. Please give me your thoughts and experiences. I'm going to vent/vomit my thoughts a little below - feel free to tell me you agree or disagree:

General consensus that, for example, fund formations is quite technical, hours overall bad, and quite useless to do anything else. Even leaving for a fund isn't easy and quality of life in a fund is pretty bad; often as bad, if not worse, than BigLaw.
Structured finance is awful and the deals are cookie cutter, very cyclical, limited to zero exit options. Leveraged finance is more interesting imo, more complex docs, more varied, more PM work, but ultimately hours are mostly super long, exits are pretty crappy (unless you want to keep going till partner or working in a bank), it's just pushing paper and herding cats.

I feel that M&A, investigations, financial regulatory and employment are the "best".

M&A is, yes, more due diligence, doc review and mindnumbing paper pushing, the docs less complex, and generally much better exits than lev fin, infinitely better than anything in structured finance. Lateral market in my market also a bit better than lev fin. M&A hours at my firm definitely quieter than finance overall.

(Gov) investigations (/white collar) - people say it's just doc review, but that's a disservice because the work is incredibly interesting. Lot of interviews, memos, interesting subject matter, big international bribery cases - hours aren't the worst. Traveling for work isn't all that great, but great overall for Biglaw practice area, I think a lot of people just don't know of it or can't get it. Market for it is small so exits are good but niche and mostly no one outside of it knows about them.

Reg seems pretty interesting; split between directly advising e.g. funds and banks on compliance and transactional work e.g. supporting M&A on compliance diligence and contract review. Hours more steady, less pressured than transactional, seems pretty chill.

E'ment is good for a number of reasons, but the market for it is tiny in Biglaw in my market and hard to get compared to the others listed. In my firm and others I know of, it's too much corporate support for me, might as well be in corporate tbh.

I do a mix of investigations and financial regulatory (obviously doing enforcement/investigations much more often than M&A advisory, though that happens), and agree they are some of the best practice areas. White collar hours can be very intense though, especially if that’s all you do. There is often an endless amount of work that needs to get done on an investigation, though you’re right that it’s way more interesting than the amount of doc review makes it sound.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:26 pm
by Yugihoe
Pretty much agree that OP is spot on in its assessment.

Would add that restructuring is brutual hours with no real exit opps from what I hear. OP where does capital markets fit in your list?

ETA: I considered doing investigations, but unlike the corporate practices you mentioned, I hear there aren't good exit opps. People with experience in investigations, please feel free to chime in.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:59 pm
by johnnymacaroni
my two cents based on my own experience and friends:

finance practices generally tend to have bad exit options. such practices include structured finance, project finance, leveraged/acquisition finance, and asset finance. "bad" here meaning it will be extremely narrow as in limited to banks in NYC (or in case of structured finance, places also like charlotte), and likely for a limited number of opportunnities at such banks. pay won't be bad but definitely a drop from biglaw market scale and will be mind numbingly boring.

the actual substantive work gets farmed out to outside counsel and you're just there to rubber stamp. if you would like to keep in house options broad (whether in terms of industry and/or geography), i'd not do any of the finance practices. there is just not much demand in house for someone who has been churning out CLOs, commitment papers, or credit agreements.

in house hiring at a company is checking boxes. they are looking to see if you have experience in IP, securities law, tax, environmental, employment law, etc. M&A is the "best" because it gives you exposure to all of those areas. granted it's on a surface level, but in a typical M&A diligence you're tasked with issue spotting such things in a massive trove of documents. you do it enough over some years and you begin to develop issue spotting abilities in these areas even without being a specialist in them.

capital markets/securities group is likely second best to M&A for similar reasons above. but ideally, you would want to be at a more issuer/company side practice than underwriter side.

then there is probably a huge drop off for the rest of the transactional groups. drop off doesn't necessarily mean bad (as in low pay), but bad as in limited in industry and/or geography.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:41 am
by kaiser
Employment law has excellent exit options, which is one of the things that drew me to the practice (aside from the fact that its substantively engaging and endlessly amusing). Many people leave to work in-house since every type of company needs employment counsel. Its among the easiest routes to in-house positions since its such a ubiquitous need, regardless of how the economy is doing. Another option is government work since there are many options on that front as well. I have friends who have gone to work for the EEOC, NLRB, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Some people go to work for the DOL as well though I don't know anyone personally who did so. I also know a few folks who eventually transitioned from law into HR work since employment law is so closely tied to HR functions.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:11 am
by Sprinkler
When it’s time to go in-house, the combination of L&T is huge.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:24 am
by Anonymous User
I do a decent amount of white collar / investigations work, so I thought I'd chime in on that point.

Exit options aren't really that great. If you want to go into the government (particularly AUSA), it can be a good stepping stone, because many of the rainmaker partners in the area are former AUSAs. If you're at the right firm, working for the right people, it'll give you connetions that are invaluable. In terms of in-house exit options, eh . . . very few companies have a need for an in-house counsel devoted to that type of work, and when they do, they'll generally be looking for partner level experience. If you're completely devoted to investigations-type work, you won't get much substantive litigation experience. It can also be difficult if not impossible to stay in a firm long term in this practice group without at least a minor trip to the government.

That said, at the right firm, it'd be a good group to just put your head down for 5+ years, grind out a bunch of relatively easy (and sometimes interesting) billables, and move on . . . it can be okay, as long as you have realistic expectations for that next move.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:28 am
by Anonymous User
Thoughts on general commercial lit?

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:27 am
by Anonymous User
Surprised no one said IP/tech transactions. At least for tech, it's directly on par with the day to day legal work of a company. Assuming the IP transactional group doesn't mostly do deal support (big if), I can't think of anything else on the transactional side that directly correlates with in-house work.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:31 pm
by Anonymous User
kaiser wrote:Employment law has excellent exit options, which is one of the things that drew me to the practice (aside from the fact that its substantively engaging and endlessly amusing). Many people leave to work in-house since every type of company needs employment counsel. Its among the easiest routes to in-house positions since its such a ubiquitous need, regardless of how the economy is doing. Another option is government work since there are many options on that front as well. I have friends who have gone to work for the EEOC, NLRB, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Some people go to work for the DOL as well though I don't know anyone personally who did so. I also know a few folks who eventually transitioned from law into HR work since employment law is so closely tied to HR functions.


Do you have thoughts on how hard it would be for a junior general lit associate (at a V20 office that occasionally handles employment work, but not very often) to lateral to a specialty firm like Littler or Ogletree?

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:59 pm
by kaiser
Anonymous User wrote:
kaiser wrote:Employment law has excellent exit options, which is one of the things that drew me to the practice (aside from the fact that its substantively engaging and endlessly amusing). Many people leave to work in-house since every type of company needs employment counsel. Its among the easiest routes to in-house positions since its such a ubiquitous need, regardless of how the economy is doing. Another option is government work since there are many options on that front as well. I have friends who have gone to work for the EEOC, NLRB, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Some people go to work for the DOL as well though I don't know anyone personally who did so. I also know a few folks who eventually transitioned from law into HR work since employment law is so closely tied to HR functions.


Do you have thoughts on how hard it would be for a junior general lit associate (at a V20 office that occasionally handles employment work, but not very often) to lateral to a specialty firm like Littler or Ogletree?


I can speak to this because its precisely what I did. I was put into commercial lit at my old firm, but always wanted L&E. The key is to make the move relatively quickly, before the substantive gap becomes to great. Is it an uphill battle? Yes. As a junior in the lateral process, you have little leverage. And in trying to break into a new practice area, that means you have even less leverage. So its all about how you make the sell. Put lots of emphasis on the employment work you've done, the enjoyment you get from it, classes/clinics from law school that focused on employment law, exposure to it from judicial internships or clerkships, etc. You effectively get one mulligan early in your law career to make a course-correction, so people will be generally understanding.

The V20 experience gives you pedigree that will definitely get you some looks. I came from a similarly-ranked firm and was able to line up interviews with L&E practices at a number of firms, ranging from biglaw to L&E litigation boutiques. They could tell that I was passionate about employment law, and that I had been simply placed into the wrong group at my old firm (which I never ever spoke negatively of). Also, I worked with a recruiter who previously worked in L&E, so she had contacts and connections with almost all of the major L&E players.

If you have more questions or want additional details, feel free to PM me.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:01 pm
by kaiser
Anonymous User wrote:Thoughts on general commercial lit?


From my understanding, general commercial lit tends to have some of the worst exit options, unless of course you just want to move to another firm and continue doing litigation, or do litigation-based work for the government (though these jobs can be very competitive and hard to get).

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:21 pm
by sparty99
kaiser wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
kaiser wrote:Employment law has excellent exit options, which is one of the things that drew me to the practice (aside from the fact that its substantively engaging and endlessly amusing). Many people leave to work in-house since every type of company needs employment counsel. Its among the easiest routes to in-house positions since its such a ubiquitous need, regardless of how the economy is doing. Another option is government work since there are many options on that front as well. I have friends who have gone to work for the EEOC, NLRB, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Some people go to work for the DOL as well though I don't know anyone personally who did so. I also know a few folks who eventually transitioned from law into HR work since employment law is so closely tied to HR functions.


Do you have thoughts on how hard it would be for a junior general lit associate (at a V20 office that occasionally handles employment work, but not very often) to lateral to a specialty firm like Littler or Ogletree?


I can speak to this because its precisely what I did. I was put into commercial lit at my old firm, but always wanted L&E. The key is to make the move relatively quickly, before the substantive gap becomes to great. Is it an uphill battle? Yes. As a junior in the lateral process, you have little leverage. And in trying to break into a new practice area, that means you have even less leverage. So its all about how you make the sell. Put lots of emphasis on the employment work you've done, the enjoyment you get from it, classes/clinics from law school that focused on employment law, exposure to it from judicial internships or clerkships, etc. You effectively get one mulligan early in your law career to make a course-correction, so people will be generally understanding.

The V20 experience gives you pedigree that will definitely get you some looks. I came from a similarly-ranked firm and was able to line up interviews with L&E practices at a number of firms, ranging from biglaw to L&E litigation boutiques. They could tell that I was passionate about employment law, and that I had been simply placed into the wrong group at my old firm (which I never ever spoke negatively of). Also, I worked with a recruiter who previously worked in L&E, so she had contacts and connections with almost all of the major L&E players.

If you have more questions or want additional details, feel free to PM me.


It is really difficult. I interviewed in the fall at Ogletree and Jackson Lewis and about 15 months prior at Bryan Cave for L&E. I was rejected from all of them, because I had little L&E experience (I had done 5 position statements and maybe 4 cases). It was unfortunate, because I really wanted L&E because I find it to be great and had taken L&E law school classes and was a member of the L&E student group. I was recently rejected at another firm for a staff l and e position, but I went much farther in the interview process. I think you might have to lie a lil. Tell them you have done wage and hour and class action cases. Review the pleadings filed in federal court to see what is being alleged, etc. Review common FMLA issues. Instead of 5 position statements, I started to say I had done 20, etc. Nonetheless, I never landed the L&E gig, but I did get a lateral gig at a firm paying market rate which is probably $50,000 more then what Ogletree and Jackson lewis was paying so I guess it worked out in that sense. They will also ask you how much L&E experience you have. Say like 50 to 60% of your cases are L&E or just try to avoid talking about any of your work in the other areas. One Partner even noted that my firm bio made little mention of my L&E work, which I soon changed after that comment. I also suggest making the move very quickly after 1 to 3 years. I think Fisher Phillips is willing to take litigators who have an interest in L&E, but might have done something else. All in all, it is very difficult, but if you start to do some L&E work at your current firm, I think you can develop a L&E resume, and if you embellish on your experience, you could possibly make the switch.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:34 pm
by shock259
Generally agree with what OP and others are saying here. I will say that if you go in house early enough in your career, there's some flexibility to pitch yourself as a "corporate generalist" even if you've only worked in the areas with less desirable exit options like finance. There are many companies that aren't looking for specific backgrounds or skills in junior folks, but just want to know you know how to mark up documents and are generally competent. In my view, though, this ship starts to sail once you get into the 5th yearish range.

But different companies structure their legal departments differently. It seemed to me like a lot of tech and healthcare companies in particular really sought experience in their areas prior to joining, even if you are really junior. Also, markets may differ.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:39 pm
by carsondalywashere
What about real estate?

Where do restructuring people go?

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:19 pm
by gregfootball2001
sparty99 wrote: I think you might have to lie a lil. Tell them you have done wage and hour and class action cases. Review the pleadings filed in federal court to see what is being alleged, etc. Review common FMLA issues. Instead of 5 position statements, I started to say I had done 20, etc

I would not recommend doing this.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:27 pm
by Anonymous User
carsondalywashere wrote:Where do restructuring people go?

restructuring mid-level, now at my 2nd V10.

Based on what i've seen (in order of frequency):
1. stick around current firm until counsel or super senior (we have 11th-12th year associates...)
2. continue doing bk at smaller firm/different city
3. pivot to general corporate work at smaller firm
4. use secondment with fund/bank client to land some type of hybrid position

exit options suck

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:29 pm
by kaiser
sparty99 wrote:
kaiser wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
kaiser wrote:Employment law has excellent exit options, which is one of the things that drew me to the practice (aside from the fact that its substantively engaging and endlessly amusing). Many people leave to work in-house since every type of company needs employment counsel. Its among the easiest routes to in-house positions since its such a ubiquitous need, regardless of how the economy is doing. Another option is government work since there are many options on that front as well. I have friends who have gone to work for the EEOC, NLRB, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Some people go to work for the DOL as well though I don't know anyone personally who did so. I also know a few folks who eventually transitioned from law into HR work since employment law is so closely tied to HR functions.


Do you have thoughts on how hard it would be for a junior general lit associate (at a V20 office that occasionally handles employment work, but not very often) to lateral to a specialty firm like Littler or Ogletree?


I can speak to this because its precisely what I did. I was put into commercial lit at my old firm, but always wanted L&E. The key is to make the move relatively quickly, before the substantive gap becomes to great. Is it an uphill battle? Yes. As a junior in the lateral process, you have little leverage. And in trying to break into a new practice area, that means you have even less leverage. So its all about how you make the sell. Put lots of emphasis on the employment work you've done, the enjoyment you get from it, classes/clinics from law school that focused on employment law, exposure to it from judicial internships or clerkships, etc. You effectively get one mulligan early in your law career to make a course-correction, so people will be generally understanding.

The V20 experience gives you pedigree that will definitely get you some looks. I came from a similarly-ranked firm and was able to line up interviews with L&E practices at a number of firms, ranging from biglaw to L&E litigation boutiques. They could tell that I was passionate about employment law, and that I had been simply placed into the wrong group at my old firm (which I never ever spoke negatively of). Also, I worked with a recruiter who previously worked in L&E, so she had contacts and connections with almost all of the major L&E players.

If you have more questions or want additional details, feel free to PM me.


It is really difficult. I interviewed in the fall at Ogletree and Jackson Lewis and about 15 months prior at Bryan Cave for L&E. I was rejected from all of them, because I had little L&E experience (I had done 5 position statements and maybe 4 cases). It was unfortunate, because I really wanted L&E because I find it to be great and had taken L&E law school classes and was a member of the L&E student group. I was recently rejected at another firm for a staff l and e position, but I went much farther in the interview process. I think you might have to lie a lil. Tell them you have done wage and hour and class action cases. Review the pleadings filed in federal court to see what is being alleged, etc. Review common FMLA issues. Instead of 5 position statements, I started to say I had done 20, etc. Nonetheless, I never landed the L&E gig, but I did get a lateral gig at a firm paying market rate which is probably $50,000 more then what Ogletree and Jackson lewis was paying so I guess it worked out in that sense. They will also ask you how much L&E experience you have. Say like 50 to 60% of your cases are L&E or just try to avoid talking about any of your work in the other areas. One Partner even noted that my firm bio made little mention of my L&E work, which I soon changed after that comment. I also suggest making the move very quickly after 1 to 3 years. I think Fisher Phillips is willing to take litigators who have an interest in L&E, but might have done something else. All in all, it is very difficult, but if you start to do some L&E work at your current firm, I think you can develop a L&E resume, and if you embellish on your experience, you could possibly make the switch.


How long had you been with your firm before trying to make the switch into L&E?

And I definitely disagree with the advice to lie. Its one thing to puff up a matter or resume line to make it seem more substantial than it is. But he shouldn't be saying that he worked on wage & hour class actions if he didn't.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:48 pm
by sparty99
kaiser wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
kaiser wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
kaiser wrote:Employment law has excellent exit options, which is one of the things that drew me to the practice (aside from the fact that its substantively engaging and endlessly amusing). Many people leave to work in-house since every type of company needs employment counsel. Its among the easiest routes to in-house positions since its such a ubiquitous need, regardless of how the economy is doing. Another option is government work since there are many options on that front as well. I have friends who have gone to work for the EEOC, NLRB, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Some people go to work for the DOL as well though I don't know anyone personally who did so. I also know a few folks who eventually transitioned from law into HR work since employment law is so closely tied to HR functions.


Do you have thoughts on how hard it would be for a junior general lit associate (at a V20 office that occasionally handles employment work, but not very often) to lateral to a specialty firm like Littler or Ogletree?


I can speak to this because its precisely what I did. I was put into commercial lit at my old firm, but always wanted L&E. The key is to make the move relatively quickly, before the substantive gap becomes to great. Is it an uphill battle? Yes. As a junior in the lateral process, you have little leverage. And in trying to break into a new practice area, that means you have even less leverage. So its all about how you make the sell. Put lots of emphasis on the employment work you've done, the enjoyment you get from it, classes/clinics from law school that focused on employment law, exposure to it from judicial internships or clerkships, etc. You effectively get one mulligan early in your law career to make a course-correction, so people will be generally understanding.

The V20 experience gives you pedigree that will definitely get you some looks. I came from a similarly-ranked firm and was able to line up interviews with L&E practices at a number of firms, ranging from biglaw to L&E litigation boutiques. They could tell that I was passionate about employment law, and that I had been simply placed into the wrong group at my old firm (which I never ever spoke negatively of). Also, I worked with a recruiter who previously worked in L&E, so she had contacts and connections with almost all of the major L&E players.

If you have more questions or want additional details, feel free to PM me.


It is really difficult. I interviewed in the fall at Ogletree and Jackson Lewis and about 15 months prior at Bryan Cave for L&E. I was rejected from all of them, because I had little L&E experience (I had done 5 position statements and maybe 4 cases). It was unfortunate, because I really wanted L&E because I find it to be great and had taken L&E law school classes and was a member of the L&E student group. I was recently rejected at another firm for a staff l and e position, but I went much farther in the interview process. I think you might have to lie a lil. Tell them you have done wage and hour and class action cases. Review the pleadings filed in federal court to see what is being alleged, etc. Review common FMLA issues. Instead of 5 position statements, I started to say I had done 20, etc. Nonetheless, I never landed the L&E gig, but I did get a lateral gig at a firm paying market rate which is probably $50,000 more then what Ogletree and Jackson lewis was paying so I guess it worked out in that sense. They will also ask you how much L&E experience you have. Say like 50 to 60% of your cases are L&E or just try to avoid talking about any of your work in the other areas. One Partner even noted that my firm bio made little mention of my L&E work, which I soon changed after that comment. I also suggest making the move very quickly after 1 to 3 years. I think Fisher Phillips is willing to take litigators who have an interest in L&E, but might have done something else. All in all, it is very difficult, but if you start to do some L&E work at your current firm, I think you can develop a L&E resume, and if you embellish on your experience, you could possibly make the switch.


How long had you been with your firm before trying to make the switch into L&E?

And I definitely disagree with the advice to lie. Its one thing to puff up a matter or resume line to make it seem more substantial than it is. But he shouldn't be saying that he worked on wage & hour class actions if he didn't.


2.5 to 4 year mark. Well people will not agree on embelleshing or lying, but good luck trying to get into L&E when you have not done wage and hour or class actions. You are competing with other people who have actually done that type of work. I got so desperate, I thought about applying to jobs at the City doing L&E and working there for a year or two, but I did not want that pay cut when I was already making 70 to 105k. They will also ask you how much counseling vs. litigation work you have done. THey will further ask if you have drafted handbooks, etc depnding on the firm. If you have not done any of that or are unwilling to embellish, you can see how the interview will go south very quickly. I don't know why the L&E firms or groups act like what they do is hard. I have done multiple areas of the law and non-wage and hour class actions. At the end of the day, litigation is litigation.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:50 pm
by Anonymous User
shock259 wrote:Generally agree with what OP and others are saying here. I will say that if you go in house early enough in your career, there's some flexibility to pitch yourself as a "corporate generalist" even if you've only worked in the areas with less desirable exit options like finance. There are many companies that aren't looking for specific backgrounds or skills in junior folks, but just want to know you know how to mark up documents and are generally competent. In my view, though, this ship starts to sail once you get into the 5th yearish range.

But different companies structure their legal departments differently. It seemed to me like a lot of tech and healthcare companies in particular really sought experience in their areas prior to joining, even if you are really junior. Also, markets may differ.


This is reassuring. Can any finance people chime in who were able to land a non-bank in-house position without jumping to another firm first to do a more broad practice? I've literally seen 0 and I've scoured linkin looking for all alumnai of my firm.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:08 pm
by Anonymous User
carsondalywashere wrote:What about real estate?



Decent exit options assuming you have a generalist background (i.e., don't only practice RE finance unless you want to work for a bank). In-house options are developers, asset managers, investment companies/REITs, etc. Also, while less common, most large companies have some RE needs, whether that be licenses, leases, portfolio work, etc.--the trouble is those options are not as available as in-house RE companies.

Also, if you have a generalist background, it's easy to sell RE practice as a precursor to a generalist inhouse role by emphasizing you focus on all aspects of property, from financing the acquisition/disposition, to actually purchasing/selling it, to building it, leasing/licensing/subleasing, and managing it, which can require you wear a ton of hats and learn to mark-up all kinds of contracts (with the one commonality being best serving the asset and advising the client on risk). Obviously, straight up M&A work is an easier sell, but I've had decent luck applying to non-RE, general in-house roles based on a purely RE practice.

I also have had several colleagues quit the law and transition to the business side, which is easy to do w/ real estate given that a lot of clients will defer to you on deal terms given your expertise.

Hours at RE I find are more predictable than general corporate. Big transactions can't happen over night w/o significant risk--there is title work to do, survey/zoning takes time, etc. I found that RE tends to attract scrappier lawyers (take that as a pro or con, ha).

That being said, RE takes a HARD HIT during recessions so be aware of that.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:17 pm
by kaiser
sparty99 wrote:
2.5 to 4 year mark. Well people will not agree on embelleshing or lying, but good luck trying to get into L&E when you have not done wage and hour or class actions. You are competing with other people who have actually done that type of work. I got so desperate, I thought about applying to jobs at the City doing L&E and working there for a year or two, but I did not want that pay cut when I was already making 70 to 105k. They will also ask you how much counseling vs. litigation work you have done. THey will further ask if you have drafted handbooks, etc depnding on the firm. If you have not done any of that or are unwilling to embellish, you can see how the interview will go south very quickly. I don't know why the L&E firms or groups act like what they do is hard. I have done multiple areas of the law and non-wage and hour class actions. At the end of the day, litigation is litigation.


The difficulty likely came because of how many years in you were. It becomes exponentially more difficult to make the move the further along you go. Even after just 1 year, they asked "why you vs. someone who is coming over from another L&E practice". And part of my answer is that the first year in either group is primarily focused on learning the basics of litigation, and what I've learned will be entirely applicable to the procedure of L&E work (and that the substantive gap I will fill in quickly, and have already begun to do so via clinics, pieces I've written, summer associate assignments, etc.). But that answer goes out the window if you are a 3rd or 4th year. Which is why I stress again to OP, if you are thinking about making this move, start right now.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:44 pm
by Anonymous User
I work in Employee Benefits and Executive Comp. and I think it’s probably the best practice area (I’m in a firm that does more counseling than deals). The exit options are either benefits counsel at a company, another firm, or an upper level HR position (such as director of HR). Since we do mostly counseling work, we can control our hours. I’m usually in around 930, out by 7. There aren’t many lulls throughout the day, which makes hitting hours during the daytime a little more realistic.

Obviously the one thing that sucks is that there is so much law you need to learn (tax code, ERISA, HIPAA, ACA, etc.), but it makes you really desirable to a lot of employers because they know if they screw up on exec comp or benefits, they could get hefty penalties from the DOL or IRS.

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:59 pm
by carsondalywashere
Anonymous User wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:Where do restructuring people go?

restructuring mid-level, now at my 2nd V10.

Based on what i've seen (in order of frequency):
1. stick around current firm until counsel or super senior (we have 11th-12th year associates...)
2. continue doing bk at smaller firm/different city
3. pivot to general corporate work at smaller firm
4. use secondment with fund/bank client to land some type of hybrid position

exit options suck

So it's not common for restructuring associates to leave a firm to work for a fund or a bank, and traditionally it requires a secondment for a move like that to happen?

Re: Exit options and "best" practice areas

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:08 pm
by Anonymous User
Anonymous User wrote:
carsondalywashere wrote:What about real estate?



Decent exit options assuming you have a generalist background (i.e., don't only practice RE finance unless you want to work for a bank). In-house options are developers, asset managers, investment companies/REITs, etc. Also, while less common, most large companies have some RE needs, whether that be licenses, leases, portfolio work, etc.--the trouble is those options are not as available as in-house RE companies.

Also, if you have a generalist background, it's easy to sell RE practice as a precursor to a generalist inhouse role by emphasizing you focus on all aspects of property, from financing the acquisition/disposition, to actually purchasing/selling it, to building it, leasing/licensing/subleasing, and managing it, which can require you wear a ton of hats and learn to mark-up all kinds of contracts (with the one commonality being best serving the asset and advising the client on risk). Obviously, straight up M&A work is an easier sell, but I've had decent luck applying to non-RE, general in-house roles based on a purely RE practice.

I also have had several colleagues quit the law and transition to the business side, which is easy to do w/ real estate given that a lot of clients will defer to you on deal terms given your expertise.

Hours at RE I find are more predictable than general corporate. Big transactions can't happen over night w/o significant risk--there is title work to do, survey/zoning takes time, etc. I found that RE tends to attract scrappier lawyers (take that as a pro or con, ha).

That being said, RE takes a HARD HIT during recessions so be aware of that.


I've heard of some finance associates (banking,high yield, lev fin) pivot to firms and join their RE finance practice. Have you seen RE finance lawyers gravitate towards more generalist RE roles?