CFIUS/sanctions biglaw international regulatory work

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spicysalmonroll

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CFIUS/sanctions biglaw international regulatory work

Postby spicysalmonroll » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:09 am

I'm interested in interviewing with top regulatory firms in DC for CFIUS work. I can't seem to find much on what kind of day-to-day work this involves and would love to hear from someone who knows something about international regulatory work in BigLaw (specifically CFIUS, or sanctions work if possible) either through direct experience or from other people. Would appreciate any and all advice. For instance, what are the best firms for CFIUS type work. What are the career paths/trajectory/prospects like in regulatory work in this space? What kind of "sister" gov't jobs are there for CFIUS type work? What''s the day-to-day? Work life balance? Partner prospects? etc

collegewriter

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Re: CFIUS/sanctions biglaw international regulatory work

Postby collegewriter » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:21 pm

Practically speaking I have only ever encountered this when we are engaging in HSR analysis. I’m not sure if it’s the same partners involved, but I believe it might be. I’m in-house and when we are buying companies or engaging in large restructuring, this typically comes up as ancillary concern.

Not sure if that’s helpful. I’ve never encountered separate CFIUS counsel but that’s not to say it doesn’t exist. You might look at firms with antitrust practices as a way to get into this or further your research.

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Elston Gunn

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Re: CFIUS/sanctions biglaw international regulatory work

Postby Elston Gunn » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:15 pm

There are definitely big DC firms that do this as a separate practice area. Chambers is probably pretty accurate: https://chambers.com/guide/usa?publicat ... onId=12788

That said, without having real expertise here, I would advise against going into this practice area. It is an area prone to fire drills with clients who are almost by definition in different time zones. Until you are a working lawyer, it is easy to underrate how much it sucks being at the beck and call of clients who are 12 hours ahead of you. I’m also not familiar with the typical exits, but I can’t imagine they are very diverse; I have to think the best options are literally going to CFIUS, or possibly some other international focused positions at Treasury or an NGO. I just can’t imagine there are many companies that need an in-house CFIUS person. (Though there are a few major repeat players, such as Asian sovereign wealth funds, so maybe I’m wrong there.)

Of course anyone with more expertise, please correct me where I’m wrong.

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Elston Gunn

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Re: CFIUS/sanctions biglaw international regulatory work

Postby Elston Gunn » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:16 pm

I’ll add that sanctions/more general international trade regulatory work may be less brutal, and a lot of large companies do need in house counsel for those positions (or at least large banks do for sanctions and anti-money laundering issues).

eastcoast_iub

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Re: CFIUS/sanctions biglaw international regulatory work

Postby eastcoast_iub » Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:29 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:There are definitely big DC firms that do this as a separate practice area. Chambers is probably pretty accurate: https://chambers.com/guide/usa?publicat ... onId=12788

That said, without having real expertise here, I would advise against going into this practice area. It is an area prone to fire drills with clients who are almost by definition in different time zones. Until you are a working lawyer, it is easy to underrate how much it sucks being at the beck and call of clients who are 12 hours ahead of you. I’m also not familiar with the typical exits, but I can’t imagine they are very diverse; I have to think the best options are literally going to CFIUS, or possibly some other international focused positions at Treasury or an NGO. I just can’t imagine there are many companies that need an in-house CFIUS person. (Though there are a few major repeat players, such as Asian sovereign wealth funds, so maybe I’m wrong there.)

Of course anyone with more expertise, please correct me where I’m wrong.


I do CFIUS work and this is inaccurate with respect to fire drills. It is the total opposite actually, almost everything has a long lead time. Correct that exits are typically to Treasury's CFIUS function (or other law firms), although almost all CFIUS groups also do other types of international work so you have broader experience that might be translatable to other agencies. Also I know of at least one CFIUS repeat player who has in-house an CFIUS person but that is rare.

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hdivschool

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Re: CFIUS/sanctions biglaw international regulatory work

Postby hdivschool » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:00 pm

My DC firm does some CFIUS/sanctions work. I don't do that work, but my impression is that it can involve fire drills. Perhaps that is just a reflection of the current administration's somewhat unpredictable approach to sanctions, however.

Count1234

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Re: CFIUS/sanctions biglaw international regulatory work

Postby Count1234 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:51 pm

I used to work at a big law firm in DC that did CFIUS work. The work is somewhat interesting because you have to take such a deep dive into whatever subject matter your client is involved in. Sometimes it's simple stuff, like they run a totally run of the mill company selling basic household goods, other times it could be very difficult if the subject matter has national security concerns (maybe they make weapons, or things that can be used to make wmds). Generally, you know when you're supposed to file your notice to CFIUS, so you'll know in advance when fire drills might happen--they do happen in this type of work. I generally spent a good portion of my day either talking to clients and learning whatever I needed to know about their company so that I can report whatever to CFIUS, or writing up the notice and prepping exhibits. Sometimes I talked to on the ground people at the company, so people who actually did the work and not GCs. Other times I was talking to GCs. It was a good way to get some client contact--I was a first year associate. A CFIUS notice is filed by two parties: the buyer, and the seller. So both parties have to agree on what the notice says. Fire drills tended to happen when the parties disagreed about something and tend to happen close to the filing deadline (thus fire drill). If the partner you're working with plans well, and gives good guidance you won't have any fire drills on your end for your portion. I, unfortunately, worked with a partner that didn't give any guidance nor did he properly assign work so I had to deal with a lot of fire drills around (1) work that needed to be done, but he hadn't assigned to anyone so no one did it; and (2) not writing the notice in exactly the way that he wanted. I've stayed up late many nights stressed over the partner's response to the notice that I sent him because he wasn't happy with it.

Aside from CFIUS, that group did general international trade work too. I wasn't involved in any of that but my sense was that it was heavily tied to mergers and customs issues. Partner prospects are probably pretty slim since we had just the one partner at my firm that did this type of work. You might try to go in house, but I have a feeling that there isn't a GC position specifically for CFIUS because a company is unlikely to be bought and sold so often to warrant that. You can probably exit to other regulatory work, but that's also less likely. In interviewing for other jobs I have never once mentioned my CFIUS work because it's just never relevant to the interview (my normal practice was in litigation and I just helped with CFIUS work when there was need).



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