0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

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DaftAndDirect
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby DaftAndDirect » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:06 pm

rayiner wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:That's definitely true for analysts. First and second year analysts get railed worse than a first or second year Big Law associate. The hours get better as you advance from associate through to VP. My understanding is that Big Law hours don't really change for the better until you make partner (this coming from a couple attorneys I know at Chicago firms).

I buy that at first most law school types don't think they'd be very good at banking. But if they spent the same amount of time and energy on learning how to use Excel/Bloomberg/CapIQ as they did poring over cases during 1L, they'd likely make a fine banking analyst. You don't have to be a mathlete to be a good analyst, you just need to know how to use the programs that do the heavy mathematical lifting for you.

An additional pro for banking is that the exit options are far more flexible than a JD.


Banking exit options are also a lot more varied in terms of compensation and less secure. The kind of insecurity lawyers felt in 2008/2009 is just a taste of what bankers have always had to deal with. Armageddon in the legal field involved about 3-4% of the NLJ250 being laid off in total. Banks have been doing lay-offs of 2-3% at a time regularly since the recession.


Ok I think this is the best answer so far: Job Security. This is something that I know little about when comparing finance to law. You say banks have been laying off 2-3% regularly. What have non-Armageddon layoffs looked like for Big Law since the recession (if you have that data)?

shoeshine
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby shoeshine » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:06 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:shoeshine - objectively it does sound like your situation sucked. But why is Big Law a better alternative? Why not an MBA (cheaper and more versatile for money making purposes)? Also - if you're getting mad money to go to CCN or something that would be helpful to know, becase in that case this argument doesn't apply to you so much.

It doesn't really apply to me. I have a pretty substantial scholarship at a T14 and a 1L SA spot lined up. Most out there won't be so lucky.

I understand the argument you are trying to make. I just wanted to interject that the grass is not always greener in finance.

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DaftAndDirect
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby DaftAndDirect » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:07 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:I want to be a lawyer.


A Big Law lawyer specifically? Sounds fun.

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rayiner
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby rayiner » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:10 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:shoeshine - objectively it does sound like your situation sucked. But why is Big Law a better alternative? Why not an MBA (cheaper and more versatile for money making purposes)? Also - if you're getting mad money to go to CCN or something that would be helpful to know, becase in that case this argument doesn't apply to you so much.


My school has a T14 LS and an M7 MBA. Of our JD-MBA's, 40-70% go into law, depending on the year. Interpret that how you will.

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rayiner
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby rayiner » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:14 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:
rayiner wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:That's definitely true for analysts. First and second year analysts get railed worse than a first or second year Big Law associate. The hours get better as you advance from associate through to VP. My understanding is that Big Law hours don't really change for the better until you make partner (this coming from a couple attorneys I know at Chicago firms).

I buy that at first most law school types don't think they'd be very good at banking. But if they spent the same amount of time and energy on learning how to use Excel/Bloomberg/CapIQ as they did poring over cases during 1L, they'd likely make a fine banking analyst. You don't have to be a mathlete to be a good analyst, you just need to know how to use the programs that do the heavy mathematical lifting for you.

An additional pro for banking is that the exit options are far more flexible than a JD.


Banking exit options are also a lot more varied in terms of compensation and less secure. The kind of insecurity lawyers felt in 2008/2009 is just a taste of what bankers have always had to deal with. Armageddon in the legal field involved about 3-4% of the NLJ250 being laid off in total. Banks have been doing lay-offs of 2-3% at a time regularly since the recession.


Ok I think this is the best answer so far: Job Security. This is something that I know little about when comparing finance to law. You say banks have been laying off 2-3% regularly. What have non-Armageddon layoffs looked like for Big Law since the recession (if you have that data)?


http://lawshucks.com/layoff-tracker/

There are about 130,000 lawyers in the NLJ 250 firms. In 2009, 4,700 were laid off. In 2010 it was 234. In 2011 it was 12. Now, there are stealth layoffs and "pushing out" and whatnot, but banking has those too, and often at more aggressive schedules.

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dingbat
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby dingbat » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:15 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:Serious question.

Why isn't everyone here who is gunning for Big Law trying to break in to finance instead? If you have an arts and letters background, you could get an MSF and jump into an entry gig at 60-70k and work your way into IB after a couple of years.

Also, corporate attorneys at the end of the day are little more than some banker's bitch. Bankers and lawyers work similar hours (with bankers' being a bit worse up until reaching Vice President) but bankers are paid substantially more.

What's the deal?

1) there are no jobs in finance
2) a first year associate lawyer makes more than any analyst or associate banker
3) it's a lot easier to get fired at a bank than at a law firm
4) you need good math skills to be a banker

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Bildungsroman
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby Bildungsroman » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:16 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:I want to be a lawyer.


A Big Law lawyer specifically? Sounds fun.

It sounds alright.

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DaftAndDirect
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby DaftAndDirect » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:17 pm

rayiner wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:shoeshine - objectively it does sound like your situation sucked. But why is Big Law a better alternative? Why not an MBA (cheaper and more versatile for money making purposes)? Also - if you're getting mad money to go to CCN or something that would be helpful to know, becase in that case this argument doesn't apply to you so much.


My school has a T14 LS and an M7 MBA. Of our JD-MBA's, 40-70% go into law, depending on the year. Interpret that how you will.


The types of people who get JD-MBAs are less likely to go in to finance in the first place.
I'm actually not comfortable commiting to the above.

Don't you go to NU? Everyone should want to pick up two degrees in three years. Even the dead-set-on-big-law students.

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FlanAl
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby FlanAl » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:24 pm

not to highjack, maybe i kinda did earlier... but does anyone have any good books etc. to edumacate myself on finance. i don't have a clue what a security is etc. etc.

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DaftAndDirect
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby DaftAndDirect » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:29 pm

dingbat wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:Serious question.

Why isn't everyone here who is gunning for Big Law trying to break in to finance instead? If you have an arts and letters background, you could get an MSF and jump into an entry gig at 60-70k and work your way into IB after a couple of years.

Also, corporate attorneys at the end of the day are little more than some banker's bitch. Bankers and lawyers work similar hours (with bankers' being a bit worse up until reaching Vice President) but bankers are paid substantially more.

What's the deal?

1) there are no jobs in finance
2) a first year associate lawyer makes more than any analyst or associate banker
3) it's a lot easier to get fired at a bank than at a law firm
4) you need good math skills to be a banker


1. I don't have hard data to directly dispute this relative to Big Law. That said, you haven't presented anything to support it. Also, when I say finance I don't only mean I-Banking. Fuck get a job as a credit analyst at Wells Fargo making 60-70k a year to start. Move up to relationship manager and you're making close to or more than 100k in your late 20s not including bonus. Those jobs definitely do exist. All major banks bring in new classes of credit analysts every year.
2. Yes but the most frequent posters on this site have absolutely HAMMERED home the fact that most Big Law associates last only 3 years. After that, the jobs you're taking in house or at smaller firms seem to pay roughly what most business types are earning at that same point in their careers. Also - unless you got a great scholly at a T14, it costs more to be a lawyer.
3. I just don't buy this. Is there some sort of tenure track associate that I don't know about?
4. Unless you're talking financial engineering, or trading, banking involves basic math. Just lots of it woven together in layered models in Excel. It's more important to be good with the software than it is to be good with math. (Though I'll agree, the natural mathletes tend to be more succesful bankers).
Last edited by DaftAndDirect on Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DaftAndDirect
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby DaftAndDirect » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:32 pm

FlanAl wrote:not to highjack, maybe i kinda did earlier... but does anyone have any good books etc. to edumacate myself on finance. i don't have a clue what a security is etc. etc.


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Standard-Poors- ... 0976474980

This is a great intro to it all.

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minnbills
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby minnbills » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:39 pm

My dad got his start as a financial analyst.

They threw shit at him. I'm talking chairs and 80s cell phones here. No thanks.

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FlanAl
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby FlanAl » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:41 pm

just ordered it. summer reading!

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DaftAndDirect
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby DaftAndDirect » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:45 pm

I'm going to bed because it's obscenely late in my current location, but this conversation is really important to me. Looking forward to more responses.

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rayiner
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby rayiner » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:46 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:
dingbat wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:Serious question.

Why isn't everyone here who is gunning for Big Law trying to break in to finance instead? If you have an arts and letters background, you could get an MSF and jump into an entry gig at 60-70k and work your way into IB after a couple of years.

Also, corporate attorneys at the end of the day are little more than some banker's bitch. Bankers and lawyers work similar hours (with bankers' being a bit worse up until reaching Vice President) but bankers are paid substantially more.

What's the deal?

1) there are no jobs in finance
2) a first year associate lawyer makes more than any analyst or associate banker
3) it's a lot easier to get fired at a bank than at a law firm
4) you need good math skills to be a banker


1. I don't have hard data to directly dispute this relative to Big Law. That said, you haven't presented anything to support it. Also, when I say finance I don't only mean I-Banking. Fuck get a job as a credit analyst at Wells Fargo making 60-70k a year to start. Move up to relationship manager and you're making close to or more than 100k in your late 20s not including bonus. Those jobs definitely do exist. All major banks bring in new classes of credit analysts every year.
2. Yes but the most frequent posters on this site have absolutely HAMMERED home the fact that most Big Law associates last only 3 years. After that, the jobs you're taking in house or at smaller firms seem to pay roughly what most business types are earning at that same point in their careers. Also - unless you got a great scholly at a T14, it costs more to be a lawyer.
3. I just don't buy this. Is there some sort of tenure track associate that I don't know about?
4. Unless you're talking financial engineering, or trading, banking involves basic math. Just lots of it woven together in layered models in Excel. It's more important to be good with the software than it is to be good with math. (Though I'll agree, the natural mathletes tend to be more succesful bankers).


Post-big law legal salaries are generally higher than corresponding business salaries: http://s3.amazonaws.com/DBM/M3/2011/Dow ... e_2012.pdf

For an in-house attorney with 4-9 years of experience, the 25-75 is roughly $100k-180k (computed average = $140k). At a small-midsize firm with the same amount of experience, it's $80-150k (computed average = $120k). That's the overall average--adjust up by 15-20% for big cities.

Re: getting fired--law firms are just more conservative. Most, absent financial pressures, won't active push you out until year 5+. That's why "Lathaming" is a a thing. Firms just don't fire first and second year associates unless they've really fucked up. It's not like companies that will regularly fire the bottom 10% of performers each year.
Last edited by rayiner on Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bernaldiaz
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby bernaldiaz » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:49 pm

I'm considering it. I have good grades at a nationally respected school so should be able to pull a decent job next year. I really really wish I majored in finance rather than history right now. The only thing that is keeping me sane while my friends land awesome internships is the decent LSAT I pulled down, knowing that no matter what I'll end up at a top 5 law school. I think I'm going to apply to both next fall and see how it plays out. I think for me it would go something like this:

Top business job (BCG, Goldman, etc., which is a fucking pipedream but many kids do get those from my school) > HYS > Substantial scholarship at T6 > Solid job elsewhere > Rest of the T14 with $ > Kill self

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:50 pm

Somewhat relevant (but not really--I just want the excuse to post this video):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROlDmux7Tk4

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minnbills
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby minnbills » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:59 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Somewhat relevant (but not really--I just want the excuse to post this video):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROlDmux7Tk4


the whitman crack was pretty funny

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H.E. Pennypacker
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a

Postby H.E. Pennypacker » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:10 pm

a
Last edited by H.E. Pennypacker on Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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TLS_noobie
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby TLS_noobie » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:14 pm

Good luck with getting IB from anywhere right now. BBs are cutting analysts (even in APAC where deal flow is actually pretty good) and hiring is frozen at a few other places. Not sure what the prospects for MBAs looked like, but for UGs trying to get analyst positions this year...they were slaughtered.....

And I would hope --though I know it is not true for everyone-- that those going to law school over finance are doing so because they want to be lawyers. Transactional law and IB can be two sides of the same coin --mind numbing work on both sides, but from different perspectives. Both jobs tend to be stepping stones to something else because they both offer valuable learning experiences that are difficult to get anywhere else. If you want to be a lawyer, having biglaw in your background can open up a lot of doors...if you want to be in finance, having IB in your background does the same. Another thing to think about is that lawyers can go into finance (doesn't happen all that often as far as I know, but it does happen) but bankers cannot go into law (without law school obviously).

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rayiner
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby rayiner » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:25 pm

It's also a little silly to characterize law as having nothing to offer that banking doesn't. Law is inflexible in the sense that you have to do law wherever you go, but very flexible in the sense that law is a very big world. I'm doing an environmental law clinic this semester, and I've seen a ton of former big lawyers who left to do environmental litigation at public interest groups. Our director left a GC position at a F100 to run our legal clinic and sue wrong-doers. That may not necessarily be the kind of exit you want, but that's something you will never be able to do from finance.

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JDizzle2015
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby JDizzle2015 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:30 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:"Shit-banking" isn't really all that shit. I don't see why anyone would look down their noses at mid-market and boutique shops. Firms like these care less about pedigree than they do about about scrapiness (again this is mostly at the analyst level. A lot of the veeps at Houlihan Lokey have Harvard Business on their resumes). No they're not Goldman or Morgan Stanley, but they still provide graduates with an opportunity to make six figures and get great experience in their early 20s. It also doesn't require crushing law school debt.

Lol when did Houlihan Lokey become categorized as a "boutique" or mid-market finance firm. Maybe when they took over the MGM building? Might as well work for GS PWM. :lol: :roll:

In response to the original question, for those of us who have already tried the finance route... we're probably hoping law is less soul-sucking (maybe get lucky and find a law firm that allows for pro bono hours to fight for the little guy?). Probably not true, but I try to stay optimistic.

redmars
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby redmars » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:45 pm

Because I am bad at math

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TLS_noobie
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby TLS_noobie » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:53 pm

JDizzle2015 wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:"Shit-banking" isn't really all that shit. I don't see why anyone would look down their noses at mid-market and boutique shops. Firms like these care less about pedigree than they do about about scrapiness (again this is mostly at the analyst level. A lot of the veeps at Houlihan Lokey have Harvard Business on their resumes). No they're not Goldman or Morgan Stanley, but they still provide graduates with an opportunity to make six figures and get great experience in their early 20s. It also doesn't require crushing law school debt.

Lol when did Houlihan Lokey become categorized as a "boutique" or mid-market finance firm. Maybe when they took over the MGM building? Might as well work for GS PWM. :lol: :roll:

In response to the original question, for those of us who have already tried the finance route... we're probably hoping law is less soul-sucking (maybe get lucky and find a law firm that allows for pro bono hours to fight for the little guy?). Probably not true, but I try to stay optimistic.


Houlihan Lokey is a middle-market firm. It primarily works on deals <1 Billion. But boutiques/middle-markets (which are not necessarily the same thing) can work on giant deals as well (e.g. Qatalyst with the Google/Motorola deal).

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JDizzle2015
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby JDizzle2015 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:49 am

TLS_noobie wrote:Houlihan Lokey is a middle-market firm. It primarily works on deals <1 Billion. But boutiques/middle-markets (which are not necessarily the same thing) can work on giant deals as well (e.g. Qatalyst with the Google/Motorola deal).

Oh I see. My mistake... I was only familiar with the Qatalyst deal.




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