Creating the Representative Matters / Transactional Deal Sheets
Representative Matters / Transactional Deal Sheets are important tools to help quantify your value to your firm. And to position yourself in the marketplace. Take stock of your experience and assess where you are, and where you are going …
To list cases, litigators use the term Representative Matters and transactional attorneys refer to this document as the Transactional Deal Sheet. For the purposes of this article we will call it, the Deal Sheet.
It makes no difference if you plan on making the lateral move or simply wanting to move to a new firm. Start keeping a running list of cases you have worked on — it makes no difference if you are looking to jump to another firm. A Deal Sheet helps to assess where your experience may be lacking. And it’s a must to for client development.
The bottom line is that you must have an up-to-date list of cases you have worked on and deals you have closed. The Deal Sheet clearly defines your professional accomplishments in a way that a resume alone cannot.
There is no set length or format for organizing The Deal Sheet. Deal Sheets have no page limits. The Deal Sheet provides clients and prospective employers with a deeper understanding of your career experience with concrete examples in a clear, cogent and crisp manner. Be as concise as possible.
The key is to come up with a structure that meets the objective. Make the list easy to digest at a glance by highlighting your major accomplishments.
- List high profile or high value cases and deals first.
- Group information by kinds of cases or deals and by firms chronologically.
- Always be cognizant that you accurately portray your role in the matters and deals you describe.
- Be mindful of confidentiality issues. Be tactful and strategic, often times subtly stating the details works well.
- Include citations to be safe or use more generic language without naming specific people or entities.
- Include the dates (month and year) of each deal to show how recent your experience in various sub-practice areas has been.
- For instances where you have worked on a number of nearly identical deals for the same client, condense these transactions into one entry.
- You can include deals that did not close, if the details add something substantive to your skill set.
The important thing is to create a Deal Sheet that succinctly details your cases that can be scanned instantly and with ease.
Create several versions:
- Create a chronological Deal Sheet and also create one that lists deals in a logical format.
- When prospecting, create a Deal Sheet that is specific to a that industry or a sheet that lists only high-profile cases.
- You may want to create unique Deal Sheets for Commercial Litigations, Bankruptcy Litigations, M&A Cases, IPOs, Capital Offerings, SEC Cases and arbitrations separately.
- It might make sense to group deals where you represented the issuer under one heading and deals where you represented the underwriters under a different heading or sub-heading.
Carefully review your Deal Sheet and consider being challenged on everything listed. Be fully prepared to talk intelligently about anything and everything you include in your Deal Sheet.
- Make sure you can recite extemporaneously any detail listed.
- Be prepared to address questions about any key issues that arose during a case and how they were resolved.
- Also discuss any challenges you in particular faced, during this deal and how you solved them.
- If you really were not involved in the substance of a deal or if elaborating on the issues presents potential concerns about your skill set, err on the side of caution. Delete it.
Put pen to paper and detail your accomplishments. Your resume should be concise, that’s why the Deal Sheet is so valuable.
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On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.
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