Q: I am an attorney trying to make a lateral law firm move. How important is it for me to have a Representative Transactions or Representative Matters list besides my resume?
A: Very important!
Representative Transactions lists (for transactional attorneys) and Representative Matters lists (for litigators) are an extremely important part of a candidate’s application package. This is especially true for mid-level and senior-level attorneys who have more than a few years of practical experience working within law firms.
The reason why these documents are so critical is because they convey the substance of an attorney’s experience in a way that resumes do not. Some resumes are more substantive than others (which is good), but in general, resumes provide an overview of an attorney’s background while Representative Transactions and Matters lists provide an in-depth elucidation of an attorney’s actual experience and capabilities.
Transactional or deal lawyers prepare Representative Transactions lists (also called “Deal Sheets”), while litigators prepare Representative Matters lists. For example, banking attorneys list out all the deals they have closed and litigators list out all the litigation matters they have handled.
By giving concrete details about the transactions and matters an attorney has spent his or her time working on over the course of a career – whether that has been three years or ten years –Deal Sheets and Representative Matters lists give law firm recruiting coordinators and hiring partners far more information about what an attorney actually knows and has accomplished than the typical resume. Hiring people within firms can quickly see that a candidate has the right skill-set to do the job. These are the candidates who will move on in the hiring process.
Additionally, attorneys who take the time to carefully craft a Representative Transactions or Matters list demonstrate to potential employers that they are professional, organized, detail-oriented, and go the extra mile. These are exactly the kinds of lateral attorneys that law firms want to hire.
For more information about what a Representative Transactions or Representative Matters list should look like, please see our related article, Representative Matters Lists and Deal Sheets.
You can also refer to the “Biography” pages of attorneys in most major law firms. Just as representative transactions and matters information is instrumental in attracting law firms to the lateral attorney candidates they want to hire, this information also is key to attracting clients to law firms, which is why it is on firm and attorney websites.
For more useful information about the law firm hiring process, please see the following articles:
- Interviewing Tips
- Big Law Interview Tips and Law Firm Interview Preparation
- Law Firm Interview Resources