What does it take to be a successful deal lawyer? In addition to the same intangible qualities that all good lawyers share – intelligence, judgment, EQ, determination – it takes an understanding of basic legal and business concepts that for the most part are not part of a law school education. Many new deal lawyers start their careers without even really knowing what a “deal” is, and then they are expected to absorb the basic concepts, terminology and architecture of deals by osmosis. Is this a bad system? Absolutely, particularly now that some clients are banning junior lawyers from their matters, resulting in even fewer opportunities for on-the-job training.
The problem? Junior deal lawyers are unable to add value as quickly as they should, because of the steep learning curve that remains for them after law school.
The ideal solution would be a complete revamping of the law school curriculum, to address the fact that lawyers spend at least as much time helping clients avoid disputes, as they do working with clients to resolve them. Even though law schools are slowly adding more practical offerings to their curricula, the number of available classes that actually help students understand the nuts and bolts of representing businesses in transactions is miniscule. This ideal solution is a long way from becoming reality.
So what is the real-world solution? Effective post-graduate (i.e. law firm) learning. Charles Fox is the leading provider of practical, hands-on, interactive training for young transactional lawyers. His passion is understanding what basic business and legal knowledge is at the core of all transactional law practice, and designing effective ways to help young lawyers acquire it. He can train your lawyers, he can help you design your curriculum, or he can work with your internal trainers to create more effective learning.