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How do you make the switch from litigation to transactional? I’m a junior associate at mid sized firm but hate litigation. Graduated 2019.

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Find the busiest transactional firm in your city (usually there is a state publication that lists m&a deal count). Contact some associate at the firm who works in their transactional practice. If you know someone there, that’s great.

If you don’t, don’t be afraid of cold call emails. That’s how I got my first transactional job. Identify someone that you have something kind of in common with (alma matter, professional org, race, religion, gender, anything). Email them something like this: “Hey, I saw we have [thing in common]. I’m thinking about switching from litigation to transactional. Do you have 10 minutes to talk with me over the phone about your day-to-day?”

Get on the phone and talk with them about what their work is actually like. If it goes even somewhat ok, at the end of the phone calls say, “ that’s really helpful, thanks. I think I’m interested in making the switch. If I were to send you my resume, could you forward it to the hiring committee/partner?” 90% of the time they will say yes, because most large firms do referral bonuses in the five figure range, at least they were before Covid.

Go and start working at that firm. If it’s a really busy place, it’s probably a bit of a sweat shop, so if you don’t like the lifestyle at the firm, lateral to a different firm in a year. boom: you’re a transactional lawyer.

May god have mercy on ur soul.

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For additional context: I was clerking for a fed judge with a job offer form a litigation powerhouse firm when I decided to make the switch, and that’s how I did it.

That being said, there is some merit to what the folks below say concerning the intellectually stimulating nature of litigation etc. Really, I think that being an associate - transactional or litigation - just isn’t a great gig. Can’t say if it gets better for partners, but it doesn’t look better for them from my standpoint of having worked for and now hiring them.

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I’m a recruiter and I have to say — make the switch at your firm. Even if your firm’s transactional group sucks. Do whatever you can to get on some deals. Get a little experience then DM me and we can find you a good lateral position. But moving with no experience is a bad idea.

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Thank you! I am currently working on gaining experience in my corporate/tech law group at my firm. Just trying to translate interest into tangible skills.

I’m a 2019 grad in a corporate group at an Am Law 100 firm that is more well known for litigation. DM me if you wanna chat about my experience!

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As someone who straddles both sides of the house, you may seriously want to rethink whether or not you truly dislike being a litigator. The transactional side isn't necessarily more interesting, and I think litigation is generally more intellectually stimulating. My transactional matters are much more monotonous than the litigation stuff I do sometimes (even low level doc review, first drafts of briefs, etc. are much more interesting). I'd take a lit doc review assignment over M&A due diligence any day!

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I also do both. I much prefer transactional. But the transactional clients appreciate that I do both and that I know the litigation implications of poor drafting. Also, the contracts won't be "someone else's problem" after I'm done. They'll be my problem.

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