Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

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LSBanker
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Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby LSBanker » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:30 pm

Hey all,

I'm currently a 1st year investment banking analyst at one of the bigger banks in NYC. I went to an Ivy Undergrad but graduated with just a little undergrad debt and have all of it paid off. I was planning on going to law school all throughout my undergrad and took the LSAT my junior year (I got a 175) but was lucky enough to get my current job and didn't think about it further. Now I'm starting to have second thoughts because, although I like finance, I always wanted to be a Lawyer and I feel my work experience would be very beneficial when recruiting for corporate law jobs. At the same time though, I'd be paying $100k+ for a job that pays maybe $20k more than I'm making now (and probably less if I had kept working in finance).

I will likely be able save enough to pay for most of my education myself and I won't have a crushing debt burden when I graduate, but would it be worth it to drop everything to go into law? I know a lot of people on here talk about biglaw being terrible for work-life balance, but 60+ hours sounds great to me since I'm used to 90+. Anyone here been through something similar? In the scheme of big corporate jobs, how is biglaw compared to big finance? How stable and steady is the career path? Is it worth dropping my finance career for a legal one?

lakers180
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby lakers180 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:34 pm

whats your gpa?

why law?

LSBanker
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby LSBanker » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:37 pm

3.85ish

I've always had a very deep interest in the law and how its applications. I took an MBA-level course in college about how companies operate in a legal framework and I found it fascinating. Having worked in investment banking, my experience has been that the lawyers essentially run and structure deals rather than the bankers.

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ph14
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby ph14 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:39 pm

LSBanker wrote:Hey all,

I'm currently a 1st year investment banking analyst at one of the bigger banks in NYC. I went to an Ivy Undergrad but graduated with just a little undergrad debt and have all of it paid off. I was planning on going to law school all throughout my undergrad and took the LSAT my junior year (I got a 175) but was lucky enough to get my current job and didn't think about it further. Now I'm starting to have second thoughts because, although I like finance, I always wanted to be a Lawyer and I feel my work experience would be very beneficial when recruiting for corporate law jobs. At the same time though, I'd be paying $100k+ for a job that pays maybe $20k more than I'm making now (and probably less if I had kept working in finance).

I will likely be able save enough to pay for most of my education myself and I won't have a crushing debt burden when I graduate, but would it be worth it to drop everything to go into law? I know a lot of people on here talk about biglaw being terrible for work-life balance, but 60+ hours sounds great to me since I'm used to 90+. Anyone here been through something similar? In the scheme of big corporate jobs, how is biglaw compared to big finance? How stable and steady is the career path? Is it worth dropping my finance career for a legal one?


You're not crazy, but make some preparations first. Work at least 1 more year, saving as much as you possibly can. That way you maximize your exit options post-law school (as well as strengthen your application, though with a 175/3.85 you should get into just about any school you want).

lawschool2014hopeful
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:42 pm

I think everyone would say you are crazy.

is 3 years of not making money + owing money + possibly failing/not finding a big firm job.

You wouldnt make any more as a lawyer if you make 100k+ now, assuming that you have an expected pay raise every year.

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ph14
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby ph14 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:44 pm

lawschool2014hopeful wrote:I think everyone would say you are crazy.

is 3 years of not making money + owing money + possibly failing/not finding a big firm job.

You wouldnt make any more as a lawyer if you make 100k+ now, assuming that you have an expected pay raise every year.


I don't think it's crazy to do what you think would make you happier.

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SemperLegal
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby SemperLegal » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:56 pm

I would keep applying and saving until you have a full ride to a top school. Each year, not only do you become more attractive to both law schools and employers, you have a better nest egg (while in law school you can convert your savings to a Roth IRA and pay taxes at your likely lowest rate of your life). In the meanwhile, you can fine tune exactly what field of law you want to do, banking regulation, tax, M&A, finance, antitrust, sec reg, and capital markets regulation are all "lawyer things" that intersect with what you seem to want to do, it would be nice to have a finer focus (and some contacts) in that field before you go to OCI. Most law students are happy to get any firm job, but since you are looking for a jump up in job-enjoyment, it would be a shame if you end up doing something you don't like

Special consideration for NU. If you can get in their accelerated JD program, you can "save" a year of lost wages.

FluffMonster
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby FluffMonster » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:17 pm

SemperLegal wrote:I would keep applying and saving until you have a full ride to a top school. Each year, not only do you become more attractive to both law schools and employers, you have a better nest egg (while in law school you can convert your savings to a Roth IRA and pay taxes at your likely lowest rate of your life). In the meanwhile, you can fine tune exactly what field of law you want to do, banking regulation, tax, M&A, finance, antitrust, sec reg, and capital markets regulation are all "lawyer things" that intersect with what you seem to want to do, it would be nice to have a finer focus (and some contacts) in that field before you go to OCI. Most law students are happy to get any firm job, but since you are looking for a jump up in job-enjoyment, it would be a shame if you end up doing something you don't like

Special consideration for NU. If you can get in their accelerated JD program, you can "save" a year of lost wages.


I disagree. His LSAT score will only be valid 5 years. If he took it his junior year and has worked for some time, then his timeline is limited, unless he wants to deal with the hassle and possible disappointment of retaking a 175. Also, I think his numbers make him competitive for full rides at better schools. If I were him, I would blanket the T-14 for options and $$$.

Eta: Do what makes you happy.

YOLO

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patogordo
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby patogordo » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:21 pm

What about PT?

legends159
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby legends159 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:23 pm

LSBanker wrote:At the same time though, I'd be paying $100k+ for a job that pays maybe $20k more than I'm making now (and probably less if I had kept working in finance).


just curious but what analyst position pays $140K all in? I thought base was closer to $70K with maybe $20K bonus if you're good up to $40K if you're exceptional...

plus if you want to make more wouldn't you need to be one of the select few who become an associate w/o an MBA? otherwise you'd still need a grad degree. At least with a law degree you can be a lawyer or go back and become an associate at a bank.

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heythatslife
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby heythatslife » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:06 pm

lawschool2014hopeful wrote:I think everyone would say you are crazy.

is 3 years of not making money + owing money + possibly failing/not finding a big firm job.

You wouldnt make any more as a lawyer if you make 100k+ now, assuming that you have an expected pay raise every year.

With his numbers and work experience, I'd be very surprised if he could not get T6 (either HYS or CCN+$$$) followed by biglaw.

I think it just comes down to what you want to do. You'll likely end up doing an MBA some point in your career anyway if you stay in finance, so I think the trade-off should be more properly viewed as 2 years of additional schooling vs. 3 years.

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Legacy Rabbit
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby Legacy Rabbit » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:47 am

You have a passion. If you did not have a passion for law, you clearly would not be posting your situation. Apply with the intention for full scholarship. Additionally, with your background, you may want to look at Northwestern's AJD program, if you have not already done so.

I currently am working for a financial utility firm, and my department focuses on regulatory reporting for OTC trades. The firm is paying the cost of my MBA, yet I have full intention to enter law school, because I want to practice law. I have been working 100+ hrs for the past 8 weeks to prepare for the EMIR / ESMA deadline (the EU equivalent to Dodd - Frank and the regulatory body CFTC). Practicing law will be a breather, on top of my desire to do so.

If you are seeking to enter August 2014, you may want to apply to schools who hold strong ties in major city markets. If you have not already applied to a program, you should research in haste, and apply now. Or, apply in October for the next cycle, to better secure scholarship opportunities.

Enter law school with the intention of boosting your credentials as a subject matter expert. Build your brand , by creating your niche. Sell your expertise during OCI.

Moreover, contact LSAC to confirm the expiration of your (175) LSAC .

Good luck.

chizzy
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby chizzy » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:32 am

If you are still interested in applying this cycle, most of the top law schools still have their applications open. As the above poster said, your time is limited. Lsat scores are valid five years, and having a 175 LSAT is golden. Combine that with your gpa you should be a lock. Goodluck with your decisions!

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Otunga
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby Otunga » Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:05 am

heythatslife wrote:
lawschool2014hopeful wrote:I think everyone would say you are crazy.

is 3 years of not making money + owing money + possibly failing/not finding a big firm job.

You wouldnt make any more as a lawyer if you make 100k+ now, assuming that you have an expected pay raise every year.

With his numbers and work experience, I'd be very surprised if he could not get T6 (either HYS or CCN+$$$) followed by biglaw.

I think it just comes down to what you want to do. You'll likely end up doing an MBA some point in your career anyway if you stay in finance, so I think the trade-off should be more properly viewed as 2 years of additional schooling vs. 3 years.


I agree. He has T6 numbers and the work experience to boot. That's plenty of reason to think he'll get biglaw. He's not the typical college grad that gives robot interviews.

NYstate
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby NYstate » Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:47 am

Nothing in law is a stable career path. Big law is a difficult lifestyle for more than hours. The salary for big law lawyers has been decreasing over time because bonuses are smaller and base salary hasn't increased for years. Most firms have lockstep compensation so there is no way to make more. Firms are hiring more career associates than they used to and that model may expand constraining class size.

Big law is undergoing systematic change driven by technology, even fiercer competition for clients and clients unwilling to pay fees they used to pay.

If you are an analyst you should spend a great deal of time researching the big law career path and stability. Take some junior associates from your firms law firm for lunch and ask them questions.

You should stay in finance and get an M.B.A. most people here feel big law is the best job they can get. You are in a much different situation.

Wasting all your savings and experience to start at the bottom of a law firm (lockstep) would be a huge mistake.

Edit to answer a question I missed:Big law associates don't structure deals except the most minimal parts. Structure is tax driven and the partners are deciding the best structure while you research parts of it. Don't go to law school thinking you will structure transactions before you have worked for years. Running the deal means getting comments and drafting and producing documents overnight and being organized to run complex closings.

legends159
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby legends159 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:31 pm

NYstate wrote:Edit to answer a question I missed:Big law associates don't structure deals except the most minimal parts. Structure is tax driven and the partners are deciding the best structure while you research parts of it. Don't go to law school thinking you will structure transactions before you have worked for years. Running the deal means getting comments and drafting and producing documents overnight and being organized to run complex closings.


agreed with above. lawyers are typically execution - which if you work in a bank you typically have a deal execution team and those are the lawyers. execution means you paper the transaction. yes you might alter structure if there is a legal basis but typically those who structure a deal are sophisticated and have thought it out already so the majority of time you are just there to paper the business terms that the company and banks have decided/will decide. note that lawyers rarely negotiate a "business point" - which is code word for anything immediately tied to dollars and cents; it would be inefficient since the lawyer is not authorized to make business decisions.

one thing i personally think is cool about being a corporate lawyer is that at a very junior level you can be a fly on the wall and sit in on board meeting, drafting sessions or negotiations involving heavy hitters. the only bankers i've seen in those types of meetings are usually midlevel associates and MDs - since they're actually part of discussions. Flipside is that as a junior lawyer you're there just to absorb and not really contribute, but how else can a 25 year old with no work experience sit across from a F-500 CFO listening to their views.

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paglababa
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby paglababa » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:36 pm

I'm not making as much as you, but I'd break 6 figures this year if I stay in my current field (which isn't banking).

I applied to law school with the intention of snagging a full ride at t14, and can agree that a lot of the advice here is solid. You'd be paying sticker at H/Y/S but would def be in contention for a Hamilton full ride at Columbia, Ruby at chicago, probably full ride at NYU too. I'd apply right away and see if there is merit money left for you. Or you can continue saving up big amounts of $ and attend next year if your score will be valid.

I'm leaning towards Harvard right now, but I haven't got all my merit aid information in from other schools yet. So PM me with any questions if you want to chat.

kartelite
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby kartelite » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:52 pm

legends159 wrote:
LSBanker wrote:At the same time though, I'd be paying $100k+ for a job that pays maybe $20k more than I'm making now (and probably less if I had kept working in finance).


just curious but what analyst position pays $140K all in? I thought base was closer to $70K with maybe $20K bonus if you're good up to $40K if you're exceptional...

plus if you want to make more wouldn't you need to be one of the select few who become an associate w/o an MBA? otherwise you'd still need a grad degree. At least with a law degree you can be a lawyer or go back and become an associate at a bank.


A lot of people make a move to PE/VC or even asset management after a couple years as an analyst.

I think a law degree is very flexible for people who have actual experience. Both my parents have a JD, neither is a practicing attorney but they're both grateful for their legal training. OP could be a very attractive candidate for a firm like Wachtell and could likely transition in house later. FWIW I've been making six figures in finance for years (currently a 0L), and at this point I've realized that the job that pays the most won't necessarily make you the happiest.

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northwood
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby northwood » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:25 pm

I would put off applying to law school until the last cycle your current score expires... then see how it goes from there.

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northwood
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby northwood » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:25 pm

read this thread: its the norm, not the exception


viewtopic.php?f=23&t=192753

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patogordo
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby patogordo » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:27 pm

northwood wrote:read this thread: its the norm, not the exception


http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... 3&t=192753

he'd be a good fit at wachtell though

NYstate
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby NYstate » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:09 pm

patogordo wrote:
northwood wrote:read this thread: its the norm, not the exception


http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewt ... 3&t=192753

he'd be a good fit at wachtell though


How much should OP pay including opportunity cost to work at Wachtell? (Serious question here. Isn't he looking at losing at least $300,000 plus COA if he gets a full scholarship?) He will be giving up 3 years of experience as well. The result will be starting at the bottom of a biglaw firm, making less than he would have been and the same lifestyle. And he has to put up with law school bullshit and passing the bar. If for some reason he fucks up law school he isn't getting biglaw and will be three years out of his old job.

Is this a case of the grass looking greener in law? He may have wanted law but that was before he got this j
Last edited by NYstate on Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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patogordo
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby patogordo » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:10 pm

i was not being the slightest bit serious

NYstate
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby NYstate » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:16 pm

patogordo wrote:i was not being the slightest bit serious


Didn't see that was you. Thought it was the guy who thinks law school is great because it worked out for his parents who aren't even practicing lawyers.

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patogordo
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Re: Leaving 6-figure job for Law School? Am I crazy?

Postby patogordo » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:18 pm

NYstate wrote:
patogordo wrote:i was not being the slightest bit serious


Didn't see that was you. Thought it was the guy who thinks law school is great because it worked out for his parents who aren't even practicing lawyers.

i know, that's who i was making fun of. he said something similar a couple posts back.




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