Is it unlikely for an liberal arts major to....

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ahduth
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Re: Is it unlikely for an liberal arts major to....

Postby ahduth » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:27 pm

If you actually want to understand money, take the CFA level one. It's a total bitch, but you'll never think of a dollar the same way again. :wink:

Oblivion_08
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Re: Is it unlikely for an liberal arts major to....

Postby Oblivion_08 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:29 pm

Says the Packer fan -_- Lol just kidding man.

You'd be surprised, GPA does matter a lot.

roranoa
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Re: Is it unlikely for an liberal arts major to....

Postby roranoa » Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:01 am

ahduth wrote:If you actually want to understand money, take the CFA level one. It's a total bitch, but you'll never think of a dollar the same way again. :wink:

Although I'm not familiar with the CFA this sounds interesting.

Does the CFA level 1 cover basic accounting as well?

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niederbomb
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Re: Is it unlikely for an liberal arts major to....

Postby niederbomb » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:16 am

dooood wrote:
Kiersten1985 wrote:I'm a 1L planning to go into corporate litigation and worked for two years before law school at a V5 in NYC.

Trust me - most lawyers in BigLaw do not have finance backgrounds. You can take whatever you need -if, in fact, you need to- in law school. Firms don't even see your UG transcripts. The only thing that matters from UG after UG is if you got into a good law school and did well there.

By all means, don't start taking classes that could F up your GPA. That's all you need to worry about right now. (I assume you're in undergrad.)

As someone else mentioned, firms hire consultants and expert witnesses for most finance cases. No judge is going to consider a lawyer "expert" enough on pure finance to be a credited source anyway.

Do you what you like and what will get you good grades. Period.

This advice is sound in that (1) a lack of a business background has traditionally resulted in zero impediment on the path to biglaw; and (2) your primary focus in undergrad should be on getting the highest possible GPA. You could follow this advice and be successful in most fields of law, but if you are set on transactional law, I would advise a different route.

A basic familiarity with accounting and finance principles will help you every step of the way (in law school courses, during OCI, and once you land a job) for the reasons I described above. The bigger point is that the work of a transactional lawyer really necessitates a grasp of these concepts. If anything, take the courses now to see if you actually want to be a deal lawyer; if you end up hating these basic business courses, then believe me you don't want to practice this kind of law.

It's also important to understand that biglaw is undergoing some changes right now. Many clients have become fed up with being charged billable hours by the work of first-year associate Spanish majors, and it's easy to see their frustration. It's logical that firms will address this concern by gearing their associate searches toward students with more practical skills, including previous work experience and undergrad training.

Again, your primary concern in both undergrad and law school should be getting the best grades possible. What your major was in undergrad doesn't matter, but being able to demonstrate an interest in transactional work through undergrad classes and summer employment will help you at the margins (i.e. beating out someone with a similar GPA). At the same time, it's in your best interests to make sure you know what you're getting into. I suggest you take both finance and accounting, try your hardest and see if you like them. If you don't, maybe litigation would better suit you. Either way, you'll be familiar with concepts that will be helpful in any corporate practice.


The problem is such students are less likely to go to law school (seriously, why would they?).

That said, I want to take advantage of the Wharton Certificate, but I'm not particularly interested in "Public Policy" or politics at all, for that matter. Is it better to take the "Business and Public Policy" certificate, or just take 4 Accounting classes instead? The same question could apply to UVA as well.

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zonto
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Re: Is it unlikely for an liberal arts major to....

Postby zonto » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:45 pm

Why not just do a general business minor during your undergrad? I've loved mine so far and it's only 12 credits.

Accounting 2010 and 2020
Fundamentals of Personal Investing (CFP stuff) or Corporate Finance
International Management
Legal and Ethical Environment of Business
Human Resources Law

Just some of the options offered in my program, and I'm sure that what I've learned will be a benefit when I start taking elective 2L classes. If nothing else, at least I've started investing for my own retirement now and know a lot more than most of my peers do about the subject.

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ahduth
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Re: Is it unlikely for an liberal arts major to....

Postby ahduth » Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:54 pm

roranoa wrote:
ahduth wrote:If you actually want to understand money, take the CFA level one. It's a total bitch, but you'll never think of a dollar the same way again. :wink:

Although I'm not familiar with the CFA this sounds interesting.

Does the CFA level 1 cover basic accounting as well?


Not exactly. It gives you a cursory overview of how to read a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. But really the only thing it tells you is that GAAP sucks. If you want to learn accounting... you should probably either work as an accountant or get an MBA. I'm not really sure how much accounting you want to learn. Reading balance sheets is very useful, because accountants have become terribly creative with how they lie on them.

The main thing the CFA level 1 exam will drill into you head is that a unit of money does not have any meaning unless you say when it is. Having the time value of money concept permanently embedded in your skull is good.

roranoa
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Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:18 am

Re: Is it unlikely for an liberal arts major to....

Postby roranoa » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:43 am

ahduth wrote:
roranoa wrote:
ahduth wrote:If you actually want to understand money, take the CFA level one. It's a total bitch, but you'll never think of a dollar the same way again. :wink:

Although I'm not familiar with the CFA this sounds interesting.

Does the CFA level 1 cover basic accounting as well?


Not exactly. It gives you a cursory overview of how to read a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. But really the only thing it tells you is that GAAP sucks. If you want to learn accounting... you should probably either work as an accountant or get an MBA. I'm not really sure how much accounting you want to learn. Reading balance sheets is very useful, because accountants have become terribly creative with how they lie on them.

The main thing the CFA level 1 exam will drill into you head is that a unit of money does not have any meaning unless you say when it is. Having the time value of money concept permanently embedded in your skull is good.


Thanks for the tip!

apl6783
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:41 pm

Re: Is it unlikely for an liberal arts major to....

Postby apl6783 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:28 am

ahduth wrote:
roranoa wrote:
ahduth wrote:If you actually want to understand money, take the CFA level one. It's a total bitch, but you'll never think of a dollar the same way again. :wink:

Although I'm not familiar with the CFA this sounds interesting.

Does the CFA level 1 cover basic accounting as well?


Not exactly. It gives you a cursory overview of how to read a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. But really the only thing it tells you is that GAAP sucks. If you want to learn accounting... you should probably either work as an accountant or get an MBA. I'm not really sure how much accounting you want to learn. Reading balance sheets is very useful, because accountants have become terribly creative with how they lie on them.

The main thing the CFA level 1 exam will drill into you head is that a unit of money does not have any meaning unless you say when it is. Having the time value of money concept permanently embedded in your skull is good.


Sage advice.

dooood
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:45 am

Re: Is it unlikely for an liberal arts major to....

Postby dooood » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:49 am

niederbomb wrote:
dooood wrote:
Kiersten1985 wrote:I'm a 1L planning to go into corporate litigation and worked for two years before law school at a V5 in NYC.

Trust me - most lawyers in BigLaw do not have finance backgrounds. You can take whatever you need -if, in fact, you need to- in law school. Firms don't even see your UG transcripts. The only thing that matters from UG after UG is if you got into a good law school and did well there.

By all means, don't start taking classes that could F up your GPA. That's all you need to worry about right now. (I assume you're in undergrad.)

As someone else mentioned, firms hire consultants and expert witnesses for most finance cases. No judge is going to consider a lawyer "expert" enough on pure finance to be a credited source anyway.

Do you what you like and what will get you good grades. Period.

This advice is sound in that (1) a lack of a business background has traditionally resulted in zero impediment on the path to biglaw; and (2) your primary focus in undergrad should be on getting the highest possible GPA. You could follow this advice and be successful in most fields of law, but if you are set on transactional law, I would advise a different route.

A basic familiarity with accounting and finance principles will help you every step of the way (in law school courses, during OCI, and once you land a job) for the reasons I described above. The bigger point is that the work of a transactional lawyer really necessitates a grasp of these concepts. If anything, take the courses now to see if you actually want to be a deal lawyer; if you end up hating these basic business courses, then believe me you don't want to practice this kind of law.

It's also important to understand that biglaw is undergoing some changes right now. Many clients have become fed up with being charged billable hours by the work of first-year associate Spanish majors, and it's easy to see their frustration. It's logical that firms will address this concern by gearing their associate searches toward students with more practical skills, including previous work experience and undergrad training.

Again, your primary concern in both undergrad and law school should be getting the best grades possible. What your major was in undergrad doesn't matter, but being able to demonstrate an interest in transactional work through undergrad classes and summer employment will help you at the margins (i.e. beating out someone with a similar GPA). At the same time, it's in your best interests to make sure you know what you're getting into. I suggest you take both finance and accounting, try your hardest and see if you like them. If you don't, maybe litigation would better suit you. Either way, you'll be familiar with concepts that will be helpful in any corporate practice.


The problem is such students are less likely to go to law school (seriously, why would they?).

That said, I want to take advantage of the Wharton Certificate, but I'm not particularly interested in "Public Policy" or politics at all, for that matter. Is it better to take the "Business and Public Policy" certificate, or just take 4 Accounting classes instead? The same question could apply to UVA as well.

You usually aren't able to take four Accounting classes unless you're in the B-school, but if you're still in undergrad, definitely take the Intro to Accounting class. Given the choice between taking business-oriented classes in undergrad and doing the certificate while in law school (not that they're mutually exclusive), I would do the undergrad classes, if only for this reason: by the time you're doing OCI, firms will not yet see that you're pursuing that certificate. You will need to make it explicit on your resume that you're about to start taking classes that will count toward the certificate (and this can be helpful).

That being said, the certificate is a terrific program that you'll have on your resume forever. This could help if you want to leave biglaw after a few years to go in-house, into finance, whatever - especially from a top school like Wharton or (to a lesser extent) Darden. Also, don't be turned off by the "...and public policy" moniker. This is kind of a catch-all phrase used by lots of B-schools and basically entails economics or political economics courses. E.g. the standard master's program at LSE is the Master's in Public Policy.




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