Thursday, September 6, 2007

I'm Employed!

I have accepted my offer with the corporate department of Austin Firm. In September of 2008 I'll be a full-time worker for the first time in my life and I'm really looking forward to it! I loved my summer experience at the Firm and I feel like it's a place where I can successfully have a family and be a lawyer. Yes, it will be difficult and some sacrifices will be made along the way, but most of the attorneys there are happily balancing the two. It's such a nice group of people. I received so many congratulatory and then concerned emails after Landon was born- and when a friend of mine had a callback there last week, everyone asked about Landon and I. It's also BigLaw and prestigious and whatnot, but really it's the people that sold me.

I never, ever would have thought I'd be a corporate lawyer. When I came to law school I thought I wanted to teach. But once I figured out that you have to be a legal genius and enjoy things like research and law review, I ditched that plan and had no idea what I would do with my JD. I didn't think I liked litigation and I'd never had a business class or any interest in business related things. My dad has an MBA and my husband has a degree in Finance and nothing they talked about had ever sounded interesting to me. During 1L the only class that I loved was property- I hated contracts, civ pro, and crim. Torts was acceptable only because most of the cases were so ridiculous they were funny. That summer I worked for the litigation group at Chicago Firm and found that while I didn't hate memos as much as I thought, I didn't like them either, and the thought of endlessly researching case law and writing documents for a case that would ultimately settle made me depressed. It's not that litigation is adversarial- in fact, most of them time you're kind of working on your own (at least as an associate), it's that so much of it seemed pointless. Yes, your amazing brief may have convinced the other side to settle, but I felt like a lot of the work and research was wasted. I also despised civil procedure and all the bluebooking and rules that come along with memos and briefs. So, I started 2L really hoping that I'd like my corporations class.

And I loved it. Corporations Law and Securities Regulation are the two most enjoyable classes I've taken since genetics in college. I found the topic genuinely interesting- I even started reading the Wall Street Journal and listening when JP and my dad talked about business. I have no idea why I enjoyed the SEC regs so much more than the civil procedure ones, but I did. I love the freedom and creativity involved with corporate law- you can do pretty much anything you want as long as you disclose it. Transactions are started and finished within weeks and months rather than years. You're creating something or making something happen rather than fighting claims or perceived wrongs. My corporate work this summer confirmed my initial thoughts- this is definitely the area of law for me. I like minutia and repetition and document review didn't bother me. I felt like the corporate associates had more client contact- when you're working with small companies (common in Austin, even for a big firm), you really become that CEO or president's legal counselor in areas beyond a certain deal. Of course there's parts of being a corporate lawyer that aren't good- the fact that transactions can be started and finished within 30 days means that you're schedule is unpredictable and clients can be demanding, but there's drawbacks to every area. I spoke with a young corporate associate at the firm who just had her second child (she had her first between 2L and 3L). She said that when she was a (very pregnant) summer associate several attorneys encouraged her to look at health law or other regulatory areas because they were more predictable and family-friendly. She said she tried them, but didn't enjoy them, and decided that as long as she was going to work and be away from her children for X number of hours a day, she might as well love what she's doing. And if loving what you're doing means you work X+1 hours, then it's worth it because you'd be gone for the bulk of those hours working at any job- but this way, it's more worth that sacrifice. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it really spoke to me at the time. Corporate law is also more in demand for in-house positions, and that's something I'm definitely interested in down the line.

So I'm excited about what the next few years will bring. I feel lucky to have found a firm (and a city) that I can be this positive about. Several of the attorneys had babies in law school, so I'm not doing anything ground breaking by starting work with a toddler. In Austin we can buy a house, get a dog, raise a family, and work at jobs we enjoy. It won't be perfect, but I think it's going to be pretty darn good.


  1. Congrats!

    I am totally a litigator at heart, so i can't relate - but good job picking an area!

  2. Congrats!!!! My husband loves corporate law. I mean he sings about it on his way to work in the morning. The hours are rough in BigLaw, that's for sure. They're hard on me this week b/c he's been getting home at 3 AM and he's the type that doesn't dilly-dally at work -- he's straight up business as soon as he walks in to his office.

    But he never comes home cranky or irritable b/c he loves him job more than anyone I know. Finding an area of the law that you love is so uber important. I'm so happy you found what you love.

    However, I don't know if it's possible to find balance in a BigLaw firm if you're on partnership track. I'd be curious to hear other perspectives.

  3. Anon- I like the idea of knowing what kind of lawyer you are "at heart". I knew plenty of litigators who felt that way and at the time I envied their certainty. When I asked them about corporate law, they made a face- much like I do now about litigation. Funny how we can all do the same thing in law school and have such different passions when we graduate :)

    BC- I don't know if it's possible with partnership track either. The firm I'm going to has some amazing policies like part-time and flex-time (that are actually being used), but it's yet to be seen what that means for your partnership prospects. I wish there was a way to put partnership "on hold". I don't want to be ramping up my hours and joining committees when my kids are in elementary school. We'll see- I do think things are somewhat different in Texas, and Austin in particular. It's just a more laid back, less corporate place. If I keep blogging you'll find out how my story goes. Good luck to your husband!

  4. I love the idea of partnership on hold!

    Plus even if the firm ends up not being as flexible or doesn't offer partnership b/c you're not working crazy hours -- you'll have plenty of options, including partnership at another firm =D

    I'll definitely stay tuned to your blog!

  5. Congratulations!!! Hope you keep blogging -- there need to be more mothers/women blogging about the realities of the law firm experience.

  6. Congrats!!!! You're so fortunate to find a specialty you like so soon in your career, too!

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  8. Me too!

    We'll have to compare notes on being junior corporate associates with babies at home. (I won't start until about six months after you, though.)