If you have been practicing as a transactional lawyer for two or more years and have gained some substantial, varied experience, then it is time to consider putting together a Deal Sheet or “Sheet of Representative Transactions.” A Deal Sheet is a compact, succinct compendium of the deals you have worked on with headings.
A Deal Sheet serves you by organising your practice into defined categories that help spell out where your specific area of expertise lies. It helps steer interviews to ground where you can demonstrate your legal knowledge and skills effectively. At the junior level, it often makes sense to roll this deal content into the CV, with a list of significant matters in a bullet point form that follows the description of your position with a firm or a company. This is because junior lawyers may not have the experience yet to create an effective Deal Sheet. However, as soon as you feel you have handled an impressive and varied number of transactions, you should create a Deal Sheet.
Deal Sheets are more common among mid to senior-level lawyers who have enough work history to fill up at least a page of transactions. Their accompanying CVs are constructed with more general information about their work histories, and their transaction lists and cover letters provide the detail. This serves to keep the CV compact, and allows a potential employer to dig a little deeper into a Deal Sheet to discover the technicalities of a candidate’s practice. It also helps to organise information and deals that might be spread out on the CV between more than one employer.
If a junior lawyer has a complex Deal Sheet, then they are much more likely to be placed than a lawyer still doing due diligence or discovery style work in their second year of practice. Lawyers who have been pulled into a number of different types of transactions by several different partners should be able to create a Deal Sheet that put them head and shoulders ahead of other competing lawyers at the same year level. This may enable them to be considered for more senior roles, both in house and in private practice.
The team at Route1 contains senior lawyers who can help you with the determination as to how to separate this information and what to include – often firms will have their own preference. Book a call with our Engagement Team for free careers’ advice at any time.
In the meantime, here are some tips on how you can put an effective first draft Deal Sheet together:
A Deal Sheet consists of a list of significant transactions you have worked on with, where necessary, practice area headings. The headings may be broad for say, a corporate generalist, like mergers & acquisitions, capital markets, etc. But a number of practice areas can be broken down further, for example real estate, to commercial leasing, finance, planning, etc. And more general categories can be broken down further if you have a lot of specific experience in one area or are a true specialist in an area. For example, a lease specialist might want to break down a lease category into landlord representation, tenant representation, public housing, etc.
Under each heading, Deal Sheets generally follow a list of bullet points describing the major transactions that you worked on identified with client names or a general description of the type of client being serviced. If you mention a matter involving a publicly listed client, then that matter might be more interesting to a potential employer and show a certain level of prestige. A word of caution here – some clients will have elected to make a transaction confidential, so if there is no press release from either the client or the firm relating to the transaction be careful to ensure you are not breaching this confidence, or are not going beyond the scope of the release. In this case simply mark the client “Confidential”.
Place the categories of law at the top that you would most like to emphasise; chronology doesn’t matter here because dates are not mentioned. However, Deal Sheets provide the proper forum for displaying the transaction amount of deals you have worked on. Not all transaction-list bullets need to include transaction amounts. However it is very important to spell out the specific skills and documents you have been involved in drafting and negotiating.
A Deal Sheet can be an important part of a candidate’s application package. Use the expertise of the team at Route1, who have moved jobs as lawyers and used recruiters to hire talent throughout their careers, to help you build your best case in finding your next role in law.
The Route1 Team