Value Creation by Transactional Associates

15 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2020

See all articles by Cathy Hwang

Cathy Hwang

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: October 9, 2019


How do transactional associates add value to deals? Other scholars have characterized transactional lawyers as transaction cost engineers, regulatory arbitrageurs, and enterprise architects. But those words describe partners. Although most of the deal team is made up of associates — and the vast majority of deal lawyers begin and end their careers in law firms as associates — the literature has said little about the work of associates. This Article seeks to illuminate what transactional associates do and how they add value to deals. Building on literature in contract design and transactional lawyering, it argues that associates help to mitigate some of the shortcomings of unbundled bargaining. When efficient contract design demands that contracts be unbundled into separate modules or even separate documents, associates both serve as the conduits for those modules to communicate and may, if needed, do the crucial work of reintegrating those modules into one cohesive contract.

JEL Classification: K12, K22

Suggested Citation

Hwang, Cathy, Value Creation by Transactional Associates (October 9, 2019). Fordham Law Review, Vol. 88, No. 5, 2020, Available at SSRN:

Cathy Hwang (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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