LITIGATION v. TRANSACTIONAL WORK: WHO’S THE "REAL LAWYER"?
Written by Benjamin G. Shatz & Martin E. Steere*
Some age-old questions never seem to go away â and are simply fun to debate. Nature versus nurture? Should Washington, D.C. (or Puerto Rico) become the 51st state? Star Trek versus Star Wars? In the legal world, one such perennial topic is between litigators and transactional attorneys: "who’s the real lawyer?" A quintessential "¿quién es más macho?" legal smackdown. Both sides know they are right.
Among litigators, of course, there is a strong (natural?) tendency to think of their transactional brethren as something less than "real lawyers." After all, a license to practice law is a ticket to the big show: the ability to represent clients in court. Transactional lawyers, on the other hand (being, of course, the more grounded), understand that their hot-headed litigation brethren are just propping up their fragile egos and that the real business of the law is putting deals together and helping their clients avoid the miserable black hole that is litigation.
So, let’s kick-off this debate and see where it goes! What follows probably mirrors conversations held through the ages at water coolers around the legal world since the creation of barristers and solicitors.