Lawyers are often divided into two (2) broad categories: Litigators and Transactional Lawyers.
Most people are familiar with Litigators (whether civil or criminal). However, the term "Transactional" is a bit vague. It refers to the legal practice of bringing people and/or companies (or other organizations) together to make a deal. Through legal research (often regulatory), factual research (often referred to as "due diligence"), giving advice (both business and legal), negotiating, and documenting (typically drafting a contract), Transactional Lawyers help create the deals that allow us and the world to function and prosper.
This Guide provides some useful sources of information for new lawyers interested in doing transactional work, whether it is M&A, Real Estate, Corporate Formation and Finance, or Tax.
For a discussion of the education of a Transactional Lawyer, see this special issue of the Tennessee Journal of Business Law:
For a review of the skills a Transactional Lawyer needs, see:
Lexis's Practice Advisor, Westlaw's Practical Law, and Bloomberg Law's Transactional Intelligence Center are good places to start researching transactional law areas. These resources are designed for practitioners — both new attorneys and attorneys new to these areas of law. They offer relevant laws & regulations, secondary sources, practice guides, outlines & checklists, model agreements & forms, and drafting tools.
Starting in Lexis Advance, click on the tiles in the upper left corner to find the tile for Lexis Practice Advisor. You can browse the various "Practice Areas" to focus on a particular type of transaction or area of law (e.g., Corporate and M&A, Labor & Employment, Real Estate, Tax, etc.).
Starting in Westlaw, click on the small menu icon in the upper left corner to toggle between the (standard) Westlaw and Practical Law platforms. You can browse the various "Practice Areas" to focus on a particular type of transaction or area of law (e.g., Bankruptcy & Restructuring, Corporate and M&A, Labor & Employment, Real Estate, etc.).
Starting in Bloomberg Law, click on the "Browse" link in the upper left, then click on "Transactional Intelligence Center" in the menu that pops out from the left side.
Here's a partial view of the Transactional Intelligence Center (scroll for more). You can find resources designed for practitioners, explaining how to structure different types of transactions, draft various types of documents, etc.
The American Bar Association (ABA) and the Practising Law Institute (PLI) publish a number of resources to help new lawyers in specific areas of practice. These resources can not only help you with the practicalities of your work, they can help you to discover whether a particular area of law is a good fit for you.
You don't have to start from scratch when drafting documents. Your firm may have a work product database or document management system you can use to find documents used in prior deals. This allows you to maintain the "look & feel" of your firm's documentation and benefit from its developed expertise.
Listed below are other places where you can find collections of forms, agreements, and other documents. You can also use:
Transactional work will involve many other areas of law, as well researching public records to learn the facts to which the law will apply. For additional resources check out these Research Guides:
To stay abreast of current developments, you may want to monitor various blogs. For example:
Chat with us! Chat with a librarian.
Contact Historical & Special Collections at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet with Us Schedule an online consult with a Librarian
Hours Library Hours
Text Ask a Librarian, 617-702-2728