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A VERY PARTICULAR SET OF SKILLS - Used to be, way back when, a deal was a deal was a deal. If you were an M&A lawyer, you were just as comfortable helping two banks get hitched as you were advising on the acquisition of a life sciences company. But these days, there are all these fancy-pants “specialists” running around. And you know what? Turns out that’s actually fine—there’s plenty of room for both. As Law.com’s Patrick Smith reports, there are pros and cons to each approach and most firms strive to strike a healthy balance of the two. For attorneys who bill themselves as generalists, the marketing appeal lies in their experience handling a variety of deals across many industries. For the specialists, the appeal is in the fact that they know a particular industry sector inside and out and can anticipate potential legal, regulatory and compliance issues before they become problems. Most importantly, nothing says a corporate lawyer—even a specialist—has to pick just one lane to stay in forever. “We all have to be nimble,” Kevin Rinker is co-chairman of the M&A group at Debevoise & Plimpton, told Smith. “People change careers and lawyers reinvent themselves. I did a lot of work in Latin America at first, but in the last 10 years I have focused on health care.”

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