0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

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

Postby jkpolk » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:28 pm

dingbat wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:So essentially some combination of the following:

1. We are bad at math.
2. We are too risk averse for banking.
3. We are not creative.


"we" chose to become a lawyer and did not choose to become a banker
That's really all there is to it. I mean, why not become a doctor, or an accountant, or any of a myriad of other professions? You made a choice, plain and simple

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

Postby dingbat » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:36 pm

PARTY wrote:
Borg wrote:
PARTY wrote:i haven't read it yet, so here it is:

finance and accounting blow. seriously.

how boring.


Agreed. However, I think that everyone in the world should know how to read and analyze financial statements. Most of the bad surprises in business come from accounting.


anyone who can't read a financial statement of any sort is lazy and ignorant.

There's reading and there's understanding.
There are many ways to hide the salami, as people in my office refer to it.

As an example, many of the shenanigans Enron was up to were fully disclosed on the financial statements, but in such a way that the average reader couldn't decipher
(I'm gonna get in trouble for this statement, aren't I?)

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Odd Future Wolf Gang
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby Odd Future Wolf Gang » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:54 pm

Did any of you seriously consider careers outside law/finance/consulting/accounting? Just curious.

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

Postby TLS_noobie » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:55 pm

Odd Future Wolf Gang wrote:Did any of you seriously consider careers outside law/finance/consulting/accounting? Just curious.


Yes. Some of us are coming from other careers and are going to law school because (strangely enough) we actually want to be a lawyer. I am coming from engineering.

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Odd Future Wolf Gang
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby Odd Future Wolf Gang » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:58 pm

TLS_noobie wrote:
Odd Future Wolf Gang wrote:Did any of you seriously consider careers outside law/finance/consulting/accounting? Just curious.


Yes. Some of us are coming from other careers and are going to law school because (strangely enough) we actually want to be a lawyer. I am coming from engineering.


One of my greatest regrets is that I did not study something like engineering in UG. If you don't mind my asking, why did you make the career change? What about the law seems more appealing to you than engineering?

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

Postby rayiner » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:20 pm

Odd Future Wolf Gang wrote:
TLS_noobie wrote:
Odd Future Wolf Gang wrote:Did any of you seriously consider careers outside law/finance/consulting/accounting? Just curious.


Yes. Some of us are coming from other careers and are going to law school because (strangely enough) we actually want to be a lawyer. I am coming from engineering.


One of my greatest regrets is that I did not study something like engineering in UG. If you don't mind my asking, why did you make the career change? What about the law seems more appealing to you than engineering?


I left engineering for law, for three reasons:

1) More earning potential. Before the Google/Facebook salary wars, most software engineers would top out in the $120k range without moving into management. Really great engineers don't really make any more than average ones. There are a lot more avenues post-big law to make more than that.

2) Career longevity. You get pushed out of engineering as you hit 40. You have to move into engineering management, where you don't get to practice as an engineer any longer. In law, you only get more valuable with age and experience, and even partners still make their living practicing law.

3) Work environment. In big law you might be some client's bitch, but as an engineer you're a cog just waiting to be replaced by an Indian making $15/hour. Even a lowly first-year associate gets an office with a door that closes and a secretary--engineers with 10+ years of experience work in cube farms and have to beg office managers for pencils.

A lot of engineering work is quite boring too. Designing software can be creative and stimulating, but then again so can writing a brief. The mundane stuff you do as an entry-level in both jobs (bug hunting, doc review) is tedious and boring.

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

Postby DaftAndDirect » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:26 pm

polkij333 wrote:
dingbat wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:So essentially some combination of the following:

1. We are bad at math.
2. We are too risk averse for banking.
3. We are not creative.


"we" chose to become a lawyer and did not choose to become a banker
That's really all there is to it. I mean, why not become a doctor, or an accountant, or any of a myriad of other professions? You made a choice, plain and simple


Well that's just like...your opinion man.

PS

I want to point out that the above three points have all been made by other posters responding to my original question. Not asserting some hidden agenda here, I'm just aggregating the more common responses.
Last edited by DaftAndDirect on Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:58 pm, 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 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:31 pm

rayiner wrote:
Odd Future Wolf Gang wrote:
TLS_noobie wrote:
Odd Future Wolf Gang wrote:Did any of you seriously consider careers outside law/finance/consulting/accounting? Just curious.


Yes. Some of us are coming from other careers and are going to law school because (strangely enough) we actually want to be a lawyer. I am coming from engineering.


One of my greatest regrets is that I did not study something like engineering in UG. If you don't mind my asking, why did you make the career change? What about the law seems more appealing to you than engineering?


I left engineering for law, for three reasons:

1) More earning potential. Before the Google/Facebook salary wars, most software engineers would top out in the $120k range without moving into management. Really great engineers don't really make any more than average ones. There are a lot more avenues post-big law to make more than that.

2) Career longevity. You get pushed out of engineering as you hit 40. You have to move into engineering management, where you don't get to practice as an engineer any longer. In law, you only get more valuable with age and experience, and even partners still make their living practicing law.

3) Work environment. In big law you might be some client's bitch, but as an engineer you're a cog just waiting to be replaced by an Indian making $15/hour. Even a lowly first-year associate gets an office with a door that closes and a secretary--engineers with 10+ years of experience work in cube farms and have to beg office managers for pencils.

A lot of engineering work is quite boring too. Designing software can be creative and stimulating, but then again so can writing a brief. The mundane stuff you do as an entry-level in both jobs (bug hunting, doc review) is tedious and boring.


This is credited for the most part. I mean, as for number 3) it all depends on where you are. If you are at a start-up you are going to see a much different environment than Google. I have been in many different places (ranging from big companies to start ups) and for me it comes down to being inside-corporate versus outside-corporate. The whole cog in the machine concept mentioned above is pretty accurate, and for any job really, inside-corporate is difficult to feel you are making much of a difference on the industry as a whole, especially because you are focused on one product (typically) from a single point of view from within the company. Whereas with law, you are outside-corporate working at an industry level, potentially working on deals that actually make a large impact on the way the industry operates. The salary/longevity stuff is also true and is a major reason I am getting into law. But, from a personal perspective, I really just want to be a lawyer and that is the biggest reason I am going to law school. :)

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

Postby DaftAndDirect » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:41 pm

TLS_noobie wrote:This is credited for the most part. I mean, as for number 3) it all depends on where you are. If you are at a start-up you are going to see a much different environment than Google. I have been in many different places (ranging from big companies to start ups) and for me it comes down to being inside-corporate versus outside-corporate. The whole cog in the machine concept mentioned above is pretty accurate, and for any job really, inside-corporate is difficult to feel you are making much of a difference on the industry as a whole, especially because you are focused on one product (typically) from a single point of view from within the company. Whereas with law, you are outside-corporate working at an industry level, potentially working on deals that actually make a large impact on the way the industry operates. The salary/longevity stuff is also true and is a major reason I am getting into law. But, from a personal perspective, I really just want to be a lawyer and that is the biggest reason I am going to law school. :)


Again...a Big Law lawyer specifically...why?

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

Postby rayiner » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:41 pm

TLS_noobie wrote:
rayiner wrote:
Odd Future Wolf Gang wrote:
TLS_noobie wrote:
Yes. Some of us are coming from other careers and are going to law school because (strangely enough) we actually want to be a lawyer. I am coming from engineering.


One of my greatest regrets is that I did not study something like engineering in UG. If you don't mind my asking, why did you make the career change? What about the law seems more appealing to you than engineering?


I left engineering for law, for three reasons:

1) More earning potential. Before the Google/Facebook salary wars, most software engineers would top out in the $120k range without moving into management. Really great engineers don't really make any more than average ones. There are a lot more avenues post-big law to make more than that.

2) Career longevity. You get pushed out of engineering as you hit 40. You have to move into engineering management, where you don't get to practice as an engineer any longer. In law, you only get more valuable with age and experience, and even partners still make their living practicing law.

3) Work environment. In big law you might be some client's bitch, but as an engineer you're a cog just waiting to be replaced by an Indian making $15/hour. Even a lowly first-year associate gets an office with a door that closes and a secretary--engineers with 10+ years of experience work in cube farms and have to beg office managers for pencils.

A lot of engineering work is quite boring too. Designing software can be creative and stimulating, but then again so can writing a brief. The mundane stuff you do as an entry-level in both jobs (bug hunting, doc review) is tedious and boring.


This is credited for the most part. I mean, as for number 3) it all depends on where you are. If you are at a start-up you are going to see a much different environment than Google. I have been in many different places (ranging from big companies to start ups) and for me it comes down to being inside-corporate versus outside-corporate.


I worked at a start-up and a small company before coming to law school, and it's definitely true that you're not a cog at those places. I got to do product architecture after a year on the job. At the same time, when you're at a start up you're kind of sitting around hoping it gets acquired. There's no management track to move into at a startup--we had one VP of engineering for 15-20 engineers. It's great when you're young, but as you get older the temptation to jump to a big engineering company becomes substantial.

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

Postby rayiner » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:43 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:
TLS_noobie wrote:This is credited for the most part. I mean, as for number 3) it all depends on where you are. If you are at a start-up you are going to see a much different environment than Google. I have been in many different places (ranging from big companies to start ups) and for me it comes down to being inside-corporate versus outside-corporate. The whole cog in the machine concept mentioned above is pretty accurate, and for any job really, inside-corporate is difficult to feel you are making much of a difference on the industry as a whole, especially because you are focused on one product (typically) from a single point of view from within the company. Whereas with law, you are outside-corporate working at an industry level, potentially working on deals that actually make a large impact on the way the industry operates. The salary/longevity stuff is also true and is a major reason I am getting into law. But, from a personal perspective, I really just want to be a lawyer and that is the biggest reason I am going to law school. :)


Again...a Big Law lawyer specifically...why?


Big law is a useful credential for a wide variety of legal jobs. If you wanted to go work at an environmental law public interest organization, for example, four or five years of big law litigation experience would be big boost in getting that sort of (highly competitive) job. The same is true for going into a mid-size firm and gunning for partner, or going in-house. A lot of these organizations hire mostly from people leaving big law.

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

Postby DaftAndDirect » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:44 pm

Ok so Big Law is still just a stepping stone then. Any career Big Law hopefuls in the house?

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: 0Ls gunning for Big Law, why not finance?

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:49 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?

I can't math to save my life.

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

Postby Kikero » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:49 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:Ok so Big Law is still just a stepping stone then. Any career Big Law hopefuls in the house?


Why, yes. My plan is to become a partner at Kikero, Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

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

Postby FlanAl » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:49 pm

most likely the exit options? GC for big companies usually comes straight from big law.

And just to take a shot at answering your OP. To the lay person (I consider myself as one) I can't actually tell the difference between a transactional lawyer and just like a "businessman" (whatever the hell that means). Law school and Big Law is the only shot at being involved in Wall Street etc. for a lot of people. I don't know what is required to get into an MSF program that will get you a job afterwards, but I'd guess its something more than state school english major with 3.5 GPA and this certainly won't get you a finance job BUT combo that with a 170 lsat and welcome to the t14. Their ugrad performance etc. won't get them a good enough job to apply to an mba program later and goldman definitely isn't hunting for them, so unless there is something else I'm missing, I think it is mostly because this is the only way they can get a piece of that Wall Street pie.

OR they could just want to be lawyers instead of bankers.

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

Postby FlanAl » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:52 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:Ok so Big Law is still just a stepping stone then. Any career Big Law hopefuls in the house?


probably very few on TLS and even fewer in law school. my guess is that these people are the major gunners in law school who are just super competitive and try to do anything that sounds halfway preftigious in order to feel good about themselves. I'm sure being a big law partner is pretty lucrative but it probably also takes a certain type.

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

Postby DaftAndDirect » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:02 pm

FlanAl wrote:most likely the exit options? GC for big companies usually comes straight from big law.

And just to take a shot at answering your OP. To the lay person (I consider myself as one) I can't actually tell the difference between a transactional lawyer and just like a "businessman" (whatever the hell that means). Law school and Big Law is the only shot at being involved in Wall Street etc. for a lot of people. I don't know what is required to get into an MSF program that will get you a job afterwards, but I'd guess its something more than state school english major with 3.5 GPA and this certainly won't get you a finance job BUT combo that with a 170 lsat and welcome to the t14. Their ugrad performance etc. won't get them a good enough job to apply to an mba program later and goldman definitely isn't hunting for them, so unless there is something else I'm missing, I think it is mostly because this is the only way they can get a piece of that Wall Street pie.

OR they could just want to be lawyers instead of bankers.


I think it's important to know the difference before you spend the money to go to law school.

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

Postby TLS_noobie » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:03 pm

FlanAl wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:Ok so Big Law is still just a stepping stone then. Any career Big Law hopefuls in the house?


probably very few on TLS and even fewer in law school. my guess is that these people are the major gunners in law school who are just super competitive and try to do anything that sounds halfway preftigious in order to feel good about themselves. I'm sure being a big law partner is pretty lucrative but it probably also takes a certain type.


What actually happens (and the reason I believe this is because I have seen it in other professions; e.g. investment banking, consulting, etc.) is a student gets into BigLaw because it is a fantastic stepping stone to a career that they would want. It is a job that pays the bills and gets you that experience by forcing you to hit the ground running. But, not many people go into BigLaw being career-hopefuls (some do)...but what actually happens --similar to how 0Ls come into law school wanting to do PI but instead gun BigLaw-- is that after being enticed by the money and gaining more responsibility and then learning that they may be on track to get partnership, that person may throw away their original intentions of going on to a cozy exit op and stick it out to become career BigLawyers. Then for those who don't make partner they either lateral to another firm where partnership is a possibility, because they love the fast-paced lifestyle (read: $$$$) or they exit to their originally intended opportunity.

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

Postby DaftAndDirect » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:08 pm

TLS_noobie wrote:
FlanAl wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:Ok so Big Law is still just a stepping stone then. Any career Big Law hopefuls in the house?


probably very few on TLS and even fewer in law school. my guess is that these people are the major gunners in law school who are just super competitive and try to do anything that sounds halfway preftigious in order to feel good about themselves. I'm sure being a big law partner is pretty lucrative but it probably also takes a certain type.


What actually happens (and the reason I believe this is because I have seen it in other professions; e.g. investment banking, consulting, etc.) is a student gets into BigLaw because it is a fantastic stepping stone to a career that they would want. It is a job that pays the bills and gets you that experience by forcing you to hit the ground running. But, not many people go into BigLaw being career-hopefuls (some do)...but what actually happens --similar to how 0Ls come into law school wanting to do PI but instead gun BigLaw-- is that after being enticed by the money and gaining more responsibility and then learning that they may be on track to get partnership, that person may throw away their original intentions of going on to a cozy exit op and stick it out to become career BigLawyers. Then for those who don't make partner they either lateral to another firm where partnership is a possibility, because they love the fast-paced lifestyle (read: $$$$) or they exit to their originally intended opportunity.


TLS Noobie. Why do you want to be a lawyer. What kind of lawyer do you want to be that requires you to first get experience in Big Law?

In fact I think more people should answer this question:

"I want to be a lawyer because..."

I'm really only interested in hearing answers from those gunning for Big Law. Stay out if you want to save the planet.

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

Postby rayiner » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:26 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:TLS Noobie. Why do you want to be a lawyer. What kind of lawyer do you want to be that requires you to first get experience in Big Law?

In fact I think more people should answer this question:

"I want to be a lawyer because..."

I'm really only interested in hearing answers from those gunning for Big Law. Stay out if you want to save the planet.


You realize that the large majority of "big law" has nothing to do with how you seem to be defining "big law" (NYC corporate transactional practice). Most "big law" is litigation--good training for people who want to do everything from saving the planet to gunning for partner at a mid size commercial lit firm.

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

Postby DaftAndDirect » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:32 pm

rayiner wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:TLS Noobie. Why do you want to be a lawyer. What kind of lawyer do you want to be that requires you to first get experience in Big Law?

In fact I think more people should answer this question:

"I want to be a lawyer because..."

I'm really only interested in hearing answers from those gunning for Big Law. Stay out if you want to save the planet.


You realize that the large majority of "big law" has nothing to do with how you seem to be defining "big law" (NYC corporate transactional practice). Most "big law" is litigation--good training for people who want to do everything from saving the planet to gunning for partner at a mid size commercial lit firm.


Is this really true?

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

Postby kwais » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:33 pm

Someone on TLS is over-simplifying and romanticizing fields other than law? Amazing, new and exciting!

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

Postby FlanAl » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:35 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:
FlanAl wrote:most likely the exit options? GC for big companies usually comes straight from big law.

And just to take a shot at answering your OP. To the lay person (I consider myself as one) I can't actually tell the difference between a transactional lawyer and just like a "businessman" (whatever the hell that means). Law school and Big Law is the only shot at being involved in Wall Street etc. for a lot of people. I don't know what is required to get into an MSF program that will get you a job afterwards, but I'd guess its something more than state school english major with 3.5 GPA and this certainly won't get you a finance job BUT combo that with a 170 lsat and welcome to the t14. Their ugrad performance etc. won't get them a good enough job to apply to an mba program later and goldman definitely isn't hunting for them, so unless there is something else I'm missing, I think it is mostly because this is the only way they can get a piece of that Wall Street pie.

OR they could just want to be lawyers instead of bankers.


I think it's important to know the difference before you spend the money to go to law school.


Not sure why knowing the difference is important if you can only have the option of doing one of them. I'm confused as to whether or not this thread is about law students in general or about the kids who went to like 5 special ug's and could get finance and are choosing law school instead?

Just to clarify, I'm not someone who wants to work on wall street. Really not that into big law either. But I think that for a lot of people the big law route is their only chance to break into wall street.

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

Postby FlanAl » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:37 pm

out of curiosity what do you think the answer to your question would be if it was "I want to do finance because..." instead of big law.

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

Postby rayiner » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:57 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:
rayiner wrote:
DaftAndDirect wrote:TLS Noobie. Why do you want to be a lawyer. What kind of lawyer do you want to be that requires you to first get experience in Big Law?

In fact I think more people should answer this question:

"I want to be a lawyer because..."

I'm really only interested in hearing answers from those gunning for Big Law. Stay out if you want to save the planet.


You realize that the large majority of "big law" has nothing to do with how you seem to be defining "big law" (NYC corporate transactional practice). Most "big law" is litigation--good training for people who want to do everything from saving the planet to gunning for partner at a mid size commercial lit firm.


Is this really true?


The most corporate-heavy firms are New York firms like S&C, Cravath, etc. Even S&C and Skadden NY have only a narrow majority of associates in corporate (~55%). A corporate-heavy firm in Chicago is a place like Kirkland, which has about 40% of associates in corporate. A place like Winston & Strawn is more typical of Chicago big law, at 20% corporate. In DC, corporate practice is the minority. Hogan is the most corporate-heavy at about 30%. Skadden and Gibson are 15%. More typical is Kirkland or Arnold & Porter (~10%). In Atlanta King & Spalding is the most corporate-heavy at 30%. Alston & Bird, the other major firm, is at 20%. In San Fran, Wilson Sonsini is the only really corporate-heavy firm at about 50%. MoFo is about 25%.

It should also be noted that Chicago and New York are really the only places where "corporate practice" means working with big banks in M&A deals or capital markets deals. In the rest of the country, "corporate work" entails advising corporations. Even in a corporate-heavy west coast firm like Wilson Sonsini, where you'll be working on a lot of IPO's, you'll be representing the corporate issuer not the underwriting bank.




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