First year associate here. Firm allows for six-month rotations and I’m deciding between cap markets, m&a, and finance. Any thoughts? In a specialty group now and would love to experience a bigger group. I care particularly about exit opportunities and even a semblance of work-life balance.

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I think M&A has the best exit opportunities and worst work life balance.

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I'm a litigator but the general tone of this bowl seems to be that m&a lawyers are generally unhappy. Fwiw

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Cap markets

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I got to choose my practice group after a year of trying out different groups. Chose cap markets because it had the best lifestyle-to-exit opps ratio. M&A may have better exit opps but cap markets isn't far behind... And has a much better lifestyle generally (there's still gonna be shitty weeks and months).

Also YMMV but I got much better junior work in cap markets: I was asked to draft an initial draft of an underwriting agreement 2 months into the job during my stub year. I may have done a terrible job but the fact that I was given a week to just read and learn and ask questions was an amazing experience. This, compared to endless DD reports (and never knowing wtf happened to the deal after) in M&A, was such a refreshing experience.

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I hope you enjoy espresso. M&A will own every minute of every day. It isn't unusual to close deals at 3 a.m. You'll make your bonus hours by October and blow past whatever overachiever milestones your firm has by year end. You will work Christmas and New Years Eve.

It's intense, can be rewarding, but as a first year (and probably second and third) you'll be analyzing a ton of docs in the data room. It's exhausting work.

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Cap markets has best exit opportunities, but note that the market is booming right now so the work/life balance likely won’t be great, at least in the near term.

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I’m interested why some people think cap markets provides a better exit than M&A. Agreed both are better than finance, but I think other than in-house securities jobs, M&A attorneys have better exits. The majority of in-house work seems to be either commercial or generalist work, which I think M&A attorneys have an advantage over cap markets attorneys. Sure, there are definitely more pure in-house public company securities jobs than in-house M&A jobs (although there are a fair share of these), but I think M&A attorneys have a broader more transferable skill set.

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M&A will suck work/life balance wise wherever you are, but the difference between Capm and Finance will be dependent on the firm and clients. And exit opportunities will be Capm>M&A>Finance

I can say finance doesn’t have good exit options unless you want to work for a bank.

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