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GRACE: Passion for Dance ... and the Law

Hi, Jets Fans. Now that the 2011 football season has officially wound down, I hope you all are getting well-rested for what I predict will be a monumental 2012 season for the Jets!

As briefly mentioned in my previous blog, "The Best of 2011," last year was both my rookie year as a Flight Crew Cheerleader as well as my first year as a practicing M&A attorney. The Flight Crew Cheerleaders pride ourselves in being well-rounded individuals, and many of us focus on developing our careers as much as our développés.

To be passionate about both dance and law may seem contradictory, but they provide perfect complements to exercise both my body and mind. Throughout the year, many fellow cheerleaders have asked me exactly what I do as a lawyer. In case you're all wondering the same, below I've provided my answers to some frequently asked questions about the basics of my profession and my particular practice area.

What does "M&A" mean?

M&A stands for mergers and acquisitions, which is when two companies join together (merger) or one company buys another company, in whole or in part (acquisition). M&A attorneys help companies figure out if a deal makes sense with the company's business strategy, and if so, how to structure and execute the deal.

Aren't lawyers supposed to be boring?

This is probably the question I get the most, and the answer is a resounding "Nope!" I count several of my fellow law school students as among my best friends, and many famous people are lawyers or have law degrees (e.g., President Obama and Steve Young). Vince Lombardi also attended law school before quitting to coach football (in his case, probably a good idea). Most interesting of all, Justice Byron White, who was a former Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions before becoming a lawyer. He actually led the NFL in rushing in 1938 and 1940!

Can anyone become an attorney?

Sure, but in general, you have to graduate college with a bachelor's degree, be accepted into and earn a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) after three challenging years in law school, pass the bar examination in your respective jurisdiction (each state has its own exam) as well as the "character and fitness" interview, and then register for your license to practice.

Do you go to court all the time?

No. Not all lawyers spend time in court, and many don't ever step foot in a courtroom. Lawyers are generally split into two categories: litigators (e.g., trial attorneys) and transactional attorneys. Litigators, who are often portrayed on TV, represent clients in a potential or actual lawsuit — the traditional Party A vs. Party B. Transactional attorneys, on the other hand, represent clients by documenting their business interests. They negotiate with other parties and draft contracts that will govern a particular deal or process (e.g., an M&A transaction).

Do all lawyers work for big law firms?

No, lawyers are everywhere! They can work: (1) as a solo practitioner; (2) in a small, mid-sized, or large law firm; (3) as in-house counsel for a specific company; (4) in a boutique (specialized) firm; (5) in public service; or (6) in the government.

Why did you decide to become a lawyer?

I think I was born to be a transactional lawyer because I get such satisfaction from creating order out of chaos. Even as a child, instead of playing with toys, I would organize my pencils in size order and write out my agenda for the day. Similarly, when Company A merges with or acquires Company B, the attorney must plan out the steps of the transaction and sort through hundreds of documents to spot any issues.

So, Jets fans, I hope I've demystified the legal profession just a bit, and now you know what I do outside of MetLife Stadium!

Best regards,

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