law vs. consulting

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hello_moto
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law vs. consulting

Postby hello_moto » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:23 pm

Does anyone know the average salary of a post-college paralegal at a good law firm versus that of a post-college associate at a good consulting firm?

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reasonable_man
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:25 pm

hello_moto wrote:Does anyone know the average salary of a post-college paralegal at a good law firm versus that of a post-college associate at a good consulting firm?



Post grad paralegal.. 125k plus.. Consultant 150k+ Both are very easy to come by.

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:25 pm

reasonable_man wrote:
hello_moto wrote:Does anyone know the average salary of a post-college paralegal at a good law firm versus that of a post-college associate at a good consulting firm?



Post grad paralegal.. 125k plus.. Consultant 150k+ Both are very easy to come by.

:lol:

pissantvache
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby pissantvache » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:32 pm

Post-college consultant is usually around 65k, plus a bonus of some sort (depending on the firm)

Post-college paralegal in biglaw is 35k, but you work so many hours and bill so much overtime that that figure could easily jump to 60-80k.

If you want to do consulting, you need to: a) go to a good school at which your target firms do OCI; b) have better than a 3.5; c) be good at case interviews. Alternatively, you can make friends with a partner at the firm who will recommend you for a job.

I never did the paralegal recruiting thing, but I think that nepotism is actually a whole lot more common here (at least my roommate, who works at Cravath, benefited from it). Basically, that means that you should make friends with partners.

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animalcrkrs
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby animalcrkrs » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:38 pm

pissantvache wrote:Post-college consultant is usually around 65k, plus a bonus of some sort (depending on the firm)

Post-college paralegal in biglaw is 35k, but you work so many hours and bill so much overtime that that figure could easily jump to 60-80k.

If you want to do consulting, you need to: a) go to a good school at which your target firms do OCI; b) have better than a 3.5; c) be good at case interviews. Alternatively, you can make friends with a partner at the firm who will recommend you for a job.

I never did the paralegal recruiting thing, but I think that nepotism is actually a whole lot more common here (at least my roommate, who works at Cravath, benefited from it). Basically, that means that you should make friends with partners.



TITCR--although consulting salaries once you exit the top tier of firms/get more specialized or boutique can be a bit lower...and bonuses vary widely depending on firm and company/personal performance...it can be quite good in good years and really push your total salary up quite a bit...oh, the olden times.

Nepotism runs rampant in consulting, but is, in my firm at least, equally as rampant as school-based snobbiness (aligning with the post above's comment about attending 'target schools')

hello_moto
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby hello_moto » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:43 pm

So what are people really choosing between when they can go into either law or consulting right out of college? Neither of them require specific majors, for example, and the $$$ seems to be similar.

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OperaSoprano
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby OperaSoprano » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:44 pm

reasonable_man wrote:
hello_moto wrote:Does anyone know the average salary of a post-college paralegal at a good law firm versus that of a post-college associate at a good consulting firm?



Post grad paralegal.. 125k plus.. Consultant 150k+ Both are very easy to come by.


RM, I love you so much. I'll PM you every time I want to have all my dreams crushed. :lol:

pissantvache
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby pissantvache » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:53 pm

hello_moto wrote:So what are people really choosing between when they can go into either law or consulting right out of college? Neither of them require specific majors, for example, and the $$$ seems to be similar.


Well, I had chosen consulting because I wanted to go to B-School and do mathy-things. My roommate chose law because he wanted to go to law school and do lawyer things.

In retrospect, I have had a whole lot more time to study for the LSAT than he has, I've had stabler (if not, sometimes, as staggeringly huge) paychecks, and I've seen a whole lot more of my SO than he has (getting sent to the boonies for 2 months straight of litigation paralegaling is way worse than getting sent to the boonies for 4 days a week and coming back every weekend). Granted, I don't have the biglaw perspective that he has, but.... I think that I probably also stand out (slightly) more in law school admissions.

At any rate, consulting, in my mind, opens a lot of doors, while paralegaling simply doesn't close any.

philo-sophia
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby philo-sophia » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:55 pm

hello_moto wrote:So what are people really choosing between when they can go into either law or consulting right out of college? Neither of them require specific majors, for example, and the $$$ seems to be similar.


Ummm...as someone who has done both, i can say it's difficult to even take this question seriously. Paralegal (even at Cravath) = secretary. Consultant (at least at the decent firms) = perhaps the single most powerful / flexible launching pad for one's career. The latter is also infinitely harder to break into. Even though cravath may typically only hire from "good schools" (think Ivies, Amherst, Williams, UNC, UVA, Mich, etc.) if you do go to one of those schools, somewhat decent grades and a pulse will get you the job. For top consulting firms, the list of schools they will really recruit from is much smaller...as in even the lower ranked ivies (Cornell, Brown, etc) have the cards stacked against them. Moreover, the interviewing process is very rigorous and the offer rate among those interviewed is very low.

There is no comparison between these two fields, even if your ultimate goal is going to law school and/or working in BigLaw. I can absolutely guarantee you that nobody i interview with at OCI will give a begger's f#$% about the fact that I paralegaled at Cravath. The fact that I was a strategy consultant for a top firm will be a major card up my sleeve.

If you're "choosing" between these two career paths, it's not really a debate.

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Blindmelon
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby Blindmelon » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:04 pm

Consulting is overrated. Salaries from 35-75 starting, with an average I'd say around 50k. McKinsey may be different, but good luck getting in the door. The hours suck, theres tons of travel, and that feeling that you really are contributing nothing to society. You could coast by working 50 hours a week, but good luck moving up the corporate ladder. If consulting was all it was cracked up and hyped up to be, I wouldn't have quit and applied to LS. FWIW, I worked at a good company, and moved up the ladder very quickly. It just wasn't for me.

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Blindmelon
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby Blindmelon » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:06 pm

+1 to philo-sophia.... paralegal = making binders. Consulting = tons of client contact, and a really great way to boost your presentation/BS schools before LS. I'll definitely be touting my work experience in firm interviews.

jrock12
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby jrock12 » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:09 pm

Blindmelon wrote:Consulting is overrated. Salaries from 35-75 starting, with an average I'd say around 50k. McKinsey may be different, but good luck getting in the door. The hours suck, theres tons of travel, and that feeling that you really are contributing nothing to society. You could coast by working 50 hours a week, but good luck moving up the corporate ladder. If consulting was all it was cracked up and hyped up to be, I wouldn't have quit and applied to LS. FWIW, I worked at a good company, and moved up the ladder very quickly. It just wasn't for me.


not sure if you've shared this across other threads (or share it at all, which you can simply say no to and no offense will be taken), but what firm did you work for

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animalcrkrs
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby animalcrkrs » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:11 pm

Blindmelon wrote:Consulting is overrated. Salaries from 35-75 starting, with an average I'd say around 50k. McKinsey may be different, but good luck getting in the door. The hours suck, theres tons of travel, and that feeling that you really are contributing nothing to society. You could coast by working 50 hours a week, but good luck moving up the corporate ladder. If consulting was all it was cracked up and hyped up to be, I wouldn't have quit and applied to LS. FWIW, I worked at a good company, and moved up the ladder very quickly. It just wasn't for me.



I think with consulting stuff can vary A LOT based on size of firm/focus/travel requirements/ability to move up. I have had a good experience at a mid-size semi-prestigious firm with good pay, very little travel, and good opportutnities to work on pro-bono/public sector related cases but been pretty locked in to a set promotion path...while some of my friends have worked at huge firms with good pay, TONS of travel, constant crap cases all about pharma/oil/printing/something else boring, but have had a much more performance-based (instead of time based) promotion schedule and been able to move up in pay and job title faster than I have at my firm. All depends on what you want.

All in all, I think if you can get a good consulting job at a decent firm (which as a previous poster alluded to, is not necessarily a piece of cake, it is a great first job out of college, if for nothing than to teach you how hard you can work without putting yourself through the ringer that is i-banking and totally losing your life (but building your personal wealth). :) I hear people complaining about the hours at law firms and I know I can handle it lol.

EDIT: Oh, by the way, consulting firms are laying off left and right just like law firms right now (client services are client services in some regard)
So it will be even harder at a lot of places to score an interview/job than in good times

philo-sophia
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby philo-sophia » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:15 pm

Blindmelon wrote:Consulting is overrated. Salaries from 35-75 starting, with an average I'd say around 50k. McKinsey may be different, but good luck getting in the door. The hours suck, theres tons of travel, and that feeling that you really are contributing nothing to society. You could coast by working 50 hours a week, but good luck moving up the corporate ladder. If consulting was all it was cracked up and hyped up to be, I wouldn't have quit and applied to LS. FWIW, I worked at a good company, and moved up the ladder very quickly. It just wasn't for me.


Not sure where you worked, but where I worked (not McK, Bain, or BCG) something like 80% of our employees came from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Penn, Amherst or Williams. I saw people with 3.8 GPA's at Yale not even get an interview because they had a Yale alum review the transcripts to pick out students who had made an effort to choose easy professors.

As for exit options, in any given year, between 90-95% of the 2nd and 3rd year analysts who applied to business school were accepted to top 5 programs. Others went directly into private equity for firms like Bain Capital and TPG, or venture capital at leading firms; jobs that are difficult to land even with an HBS MBA. A few others went on to the strategy group at Disney (one of the most prestigious jobs around).

I really don't think consulting (at least for the top 10 or so firms) is overrated.

EDIT: Since Blindmellon was kind enough to make a concession on my point, i'll make a concession on his. Consulting for firms outside the top 10 or so may be, and often is, a wildly different story. Working at a firm that does primarily operations, or IT integration type work would be absolutely miserable, would not necessarily get you into a top b-school, and would not open the sort of doors for other professional avenues.
Last edited by philo-sophia on Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:17 pm

animalcrkrs wrote:EDIT: Oh, by the way, consulting firms are laying off left and right just like law firms right now (client services are client services in some regard)
So it will be even harder at a lot of places to score an interview/job than in good times

Except for those in risk consulting, they're hiring.

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animalcrkrs
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby animalcrkrs » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:18 pm

Lxw wrote:
animalcrkrs wrote:EDIT: Oh, by the way, consulting firms are laying off left and right just like law firms right now (client services are client services in some regard)
So it will be even harder at a lot of places to score an interview/job than in good times

Except for those in risk consulting, they're hiring.


True statement--"right sizing" work is getting a lot of play haha

hello_moto
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby hello_moto » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:19 pm

Thanks everyone.

What exactly is the kind of math you do as a consultant (for example, an entry-level McKinsey strategy cons. associate)? Do you just find data and plot it in Excel, or are you working with calculus equations all day?

Is it like the stuff you learn in an intro statistics course, or should you take more math courses?

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Aeroplane
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby Aeroplane » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:24 pm

animalcrkrs wrote:All in all, I think if you can get a good consulting job at a decent firm (which as a previous poster alluded to, is not necessarily a piece of cake, it is a great first job out of college, if for nothing than to teach you how hard you can work without putting yourself through the ringer that is i-banking and totally losing your life (but building your personal wealth). :) I hear people complaining about the hours at law firms and I know I can handle it lol.

EDIT: Oh, by the way, consulting firms are laying off left and right just like law firms right now (client services are client services in some regard)
So it will be even harder at a lot of places to score an interview/job than in good times
I feel this qualifies as an appropriate excuse to link one of my favorite YouTube sensations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROlDmux7Tk4

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animalcrkrs
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby animalcrkrs » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:25 pm

Again, depends on the firm and the courses your school offers, some places stress modeling/financial analysis more and others not so much--at my firm you need to have a decent handle on BASIC math and economics and the rest is gravy coming in at least. You do have to have a strong quant ability both in interviews and on the job, meaning that you are able to pick up new quant related concepts/practices on the job as you are taught them if you don't know them. I took statistics and a few econ classes (took other AP math classes in HS and tested out for college) and have done fine. You should, however, do WELL in the quant classes you do take if you are not in a quant related major and be prepared to have more quant-related/challenging questions during your case interviews as they might test you harder on that aspect.

A lot of what you learn in consulting is through 'apprenticeship' so it is not necessary in most generalist firms to come in with a lot of prior quant knowledge.
That said, McK LOVES LOVES engineers from my ugrad at least.

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animalcrkrs
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby animalcrkrs » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:26 pm

Aeroplane wrote:
animalcrkrs wrote:All in all, I think if you can get a good consulting job at a decent firm (which as a previous poster alluded to, is not necessarily a piece of cake, it is a great first job out of college, if for nothing than to teach you how hard you can work without putting yourself through the ringer that is i-banking and totally losing your life (but building your personal wealth). :) I hear people complaining about the hours at law firms and I know I can handle it lol.

EDIT: Oh, by the way, consulting firms are laying off left and right just like law firms right now (client services are client services in some regard)
So it will be even harder at a lot of places to score an interview/job than in good times
I feel this qualifies as an appropriate excuse to link one of my favorite YouTube sensations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROlDmux7Tk4



God, do I love that video.

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philip.platt
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby philip.platt » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:26 pm

hello_moto wrote:Thanks everyone.

What exactly is the kind of math you do as a consultant (for example, an entry-level McKinsey strategy cons. associate)? Do you just find data and plot it in Excel, or are you working with calculus equations all day?

Is it like the stuff you learn in an intro statistics course, or should you take more math courses?


The McKinsey consultants probably use very little calculus and more Valuation modeling.

They wrote the book on Valuation:

http://www.mckinsey.com/ideas/books/valuation/index.asp

This latest edition of Valuation helps executives understand how to measure the value in their companies and make the kind of strategic decisions that will ensure they create shareholder value. The authors highlight the need to focus not only on the short-term performance of a company but also on its long-term health – that is, its ability to create shareholder value year after year.

Good corporate health rests on a number of factors, including a robust strategy, well-maintained assets, and a good reputation with customers, regulators, governments, employees, and other stakeholders. It doesn’t necessarily rely on high-growth plans.
Last edited by philip.platt on Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

philo-sophia
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby philo-sophia » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:27 pm

hello_moto wrote:Thanks everyone.

What exactly is the kind of math you do as a consultant (for example, an entry-level McKinsey strategy cons. associate)? Do you just find data and plot it in Excel, or are you working with calculus equations all day?

Is it like the stuff you learn in an intro statistics course, or should you take more math courses?


Math skills are definitely good to have, along with strong skills in Excel (and major extra credit if you already know how to work with Access and the other more intense database packages like SQL). Along these lines, comp sci and engineering majors (who happen to also have strong social skills) are desirable and often do quite well. Consulting is a meritocracy and it's nice to have one or two things that you can already do better than most of your peers...tends to lead to strong reviews.

That said, there are plenty of peope who majored in english, history, art history, etc who get hired and do very well.

#1 thing a consultant interviewer is trying to determine about a candidate: Is this kid wicked smart? Though not sufficient, this is absolutely necessary.

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philip.platt
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby philip.platt » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:29 pm

I wouldn't bet on getting into McKinsey in this economy though. Apply to all of the V10, V20 or V50 firms and see what catches.

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Blindmelon
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby Blindmelon » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:30 pm

philo-sophia wrote:
Blindmelon wrote:Consulting is overrated. Salaries from 35-75 starting, with an average I'd say around 50k. McKinsey may be different, but good luck getting in the door. The hours suck, theres tons of travel, and that feeling that you really are contributing nothing to society. You could coast by working 50 hours a week, but good luck moving up the corporate ladder. If consulting was all it was cracked up and hyped up to be, I wouldn't have quit and applied to LS. FWIW, I worked at a good company, and moved up the ladder very quickly. It just wasn't for me.


Not sure where you worked, but where I worked (not McK, Bain, or BCG) something like 80% of our employees came from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Penn, Amherst or Williams. I saw people with 3.8 GPA's at Yale not even get an interview because they had a Yale alum review the transcripts to pick out students who had made an effort to choose easy professors.

As for exit options, in any given year, between 90-95% of the 2nd and 3rd year analysts who applied to business school were accepted to top 5 programs. Others went directly into private equity for firms like Bain Capital and TPG, or venture capital at leading firms; jobs that are difficult to land even with an HBS MBA. A few others went on to the strategy group at Disney (one of the most prestigious jobs around).

I really don't think consulting (at least for the top 10 or so firms) is overrated.

EDIT: Since Blindmellon was kind enough to make a concession on my point, i'll make a concession on his. Consulting for firms outside the top 10 or so may be, and often is, a wildly different story. Working at a firm that does primarily operations, or IT integration type work would be absolutely miserable, would not necessarily get you into a top b-school, and would not open the sort of doors for other professional avenues.


True... I did efficiency/internal strategy consulting. It can be miserable. I didn't work at a top 10.... According to Vault its within the top 30 or so. Don't really want to say where as I may want to go back there if I can't find a job post-LS.

MTC87
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Re: law vs. consulting

Postby MTC87 » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:03 pm

hello_moto wrote:Thanks everyone.

What exactly is the kind of math you do as a consultant (for example, an entry-level McKinsey strategy cons. associate)? Do you just find data and plot it in Excel, or are you working with calculus equations all day?

Is it like the stuff you learn in an intro statistics course, or should you take more math courses?


virtually nothing that i did as an associate at a management consultancy required knowledge of calculus. an advanced stats course wouldn't hurt in opening you up for certain projects, but proficiency with Excel, Access, and some stat tools was much, much more valuable for the majority of our cases.

e: and none of the above is very useful without the ability to deconstruct and synthesize data in the ways that case interviews will test for




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