Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

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Anonymous User
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Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:11 pm

Like many here, I don't see myself practicing law very long, and am hoping to use a biglaw job as an entry into business or finance. The odds of making partner at one of these firms are slim, and while the pay is good, similar, if not substantially more money can be made in finance or business. From speaking with some of these partners, it also seems that their hours are not much better than those of their associates. Does any one know which firms present the best opportunity to go into business/finance (not as an in-house counsel, but actually into the business/strategic side of the company)? Specific suggestions would be appreciated, i.e. working at firm X is great if you want to get into private equity, because we all know that the better the firm the more marketable you are to other companies.

Also - I'm interviewing with a major consulting company. With this goal in mind, would it be smarter for me just to go into consulting or take the big-law job? I'll probably summer at a firm anyway (better pay, harder to go from consulting to firm than visa-versa, etc) but I think if business/finance is my ultimate goal why waste time at a firm?

Any advice would be very appreciated. Thanks.

270910
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Re: Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby 270910 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:34 pm

Wachtell. Possibly also Cravath. Possibly also Skadden and the rest of the V5, some of the NYC V10, etc. Obviously you want to do corporate finance, M&A, financial institutions, etc. work and not litigation for it to be at all possible. Beyond that I've heard it's pretty rare. Also keep in mind that finance jobs have an up or out model too, so it's not like you'll be free from the structure / difficult advancement you described.

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Re: Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:57 pm

disco_barred wrote:Wachtell. Possibly also Cravath. Possibly also Skadden and the rest of the V5, some of the NYC V10, etc. Obviously you want to do corporate finance, M&A, financial institutions, etc. work and not litigation for it to be at all possible. Beyond that I've heard it's pretty rare. Also keep in mind that finance jobs have an up or out model too, so it's not like you'll be free from the structure / difficult advancement you described.


I really appreciate the advice - thoughts on consulting as a biglaw alternative?

ruski
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Re: Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby ruski » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:03 pm

it depends what area of finance. if you want to work on deals, like investment banking type work, consulting won't really help for that, as you don't do anything transactional as a consultant. consultants usually do big-picture strategy type work, so that would be good if you want some executive-managerial position in a business. but i dont see how consulting will prepare you for private equity or hedge fund type work, which i am assuming is what you want since that is where the money is. u can always do the consulting stint and then get your mba, then all doors in finance will be open for you.

rainmaker614
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Re: Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby rainmaker614 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:07 pm

Check out Chapman and Cutler in Chicago.

yellowjacket2012
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Re: Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby yellowjacket2012 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:16 pm

Wachtell isn't a very realistic option for most people - but I would tell OP this: go to any firm with a giant corporate department

imchuckbass58
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Re: Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:18 pm

ruski wrote:it depends what area of finance. if you want to work on deals, like investment banking type work, consulting won't really help for that, as you don't do anything transactional as a consultant. consultants usually do big-picture strategy type work, so that would be good if you want some executive-managerial position in a business. but i dont see how consulting will prepare you for private equity or hedge fund type work, which i am assuming is what you want since that is where the money is. u can always do the consulting stint and then get your mba, then all doors in finance will be open for you.


1: Consulting (along with investment banking) is one of the two big feeders to PE and hedge funds. Ever heard of Bain Capital? It started as -- you guessed it -- a spinoff from the consulting firm. Several big PE firms (Bain Capital, Golden Gate Capital, Hellman and Friedman, etc) hire at least half if not more of their associates from consulting firms.

2: Consultants do lots of transactional work, namely strategic or operational due diligence. In fact, most consulting firms have PE groups.

3: Big picture strategy type work is half of what people at long-short hedge funds and private equity funds do (the other half is the actual financial structuring of the transaction, but you don't ever actually enter a transaction unless you have an investment thesis based on running the business).

imchuckbass58
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Re: Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also - I'm interviewing with a major consulting company. With this goal in mind, would it be smarter for me just to go into consulting or take the big-law job? I'll probably summer at a firm anyway (better pay, harder to go from consulting to firm than visa-versa, etc) but I think if business/finance is my ultimate goal why waste time at a firm?

Any advice would be very appreciated. Thanks.


You would be much better going to a consulting firm (or a bank -- leveraged finance groups sometimes hire law students if you have the financial chops) than working at law firm if you want to do business or finance. Biglaw teaches you little to none of the skills you need in business or finance. If a bank takes you, it will be despite your biglaw gig, not because of it (with limited exceptions -- bankruptcy and restructuring is one, real estate is another, quasi-legal roles).

judgeholden
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Re: Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby judgeholden » Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:18 am

Dude. I can't believe you're even asking this.

Big Law to Big Business is a Big Jump. You bring in virtually no skills they care about and you significantly lack the ones they do. Great, whatever, you've done some big transactions. So has every other person they're looking at for the position, only in far less detail (as they worked in the capacity of the job you're applying for) and with many other experiences you lack.

But consulting? You say a "major consulting company." Is it a big 3? If it's Bain, BCG or McKinsey, you take it and run, laughing at all the schlubs in Big Law. Is it Deloitte or Accenture? You're not in as good shape for a major finance role immediately but there's an option, plus you can easily go into any other function at any other company. Is it LEK, Diamond, Booz1/2, ATKearney, ZS or PWC? Less cool, each of those firms is having their own issues as of late, but still a way to get insane business experience that will open about a billion doors. Is it CapGemini? Run like hell.

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Re: Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:29 am

judgeholden wrote:Dude. I can't believe you're even asking this.

Big Law to Big Business is a Big Jump. You bring in virtually no skills they care about and you significantly lack the ones they do. Great, whatever, you've done some big transactions. So has every other person they're looking at for the position, only in far less detail (as they worked in the capacity of the job you're applying for) and with many other experiences you lack.

But consulting? You say a "major consulting company." Is it a big 3? If it's Bain, BCG or McKinsey, you take it and run, laughing at all the schlubs in Big Law. Is it Deloitte or Accenture? You're not in as good shape for a major finance role immediately but there's an option, plus you can easily go into any other function at any other company. Is it LEK, Diamond, Booz1/2, ATKearney, ZS or PWC? Less cool, each of those firms is having their own issues as of late, but still a way to get insane business experience that will open about a billion doors. Is it CapGemini? Run like hell.


Yea - it's McKinsey. You basically summed up how I feel, but I think I should still summer with a firm. I have a summer offer at Cravath so its kinda hard to turn that down. Pay is better, and I think if McKinsey will take me now, they'd take me as a 3L (or at least more likely than summering with McKinsey then trying to go back to Cravath). Theres also a tiny part of me that wants to try out M&A. Do you think its worth turning down that summer offer to summer with McKinsey?

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:18 am

Summer at cravath, get your permanent offer, then reapply to McKinsey as a 3L. If you get it, go there after graduation. If not, cravath is a decent fallback. 3Ls arent as stigmatized to consulting firms as they are to law firms.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Lateraling from BigLaw into Business/Finance

Postby imchuckbass58 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Summer at cravath, get your permanent offer, then reapply to McKinsey as a 3L. If you get it, go there after graduation. If not, cravath is a decent fallback. 3Ls arent as stigmatized to consulting firms as they are to law firms.


This is also a huge hypothetical. McKinsey is arguably more selective than Cravath, and unlike law firms, cares much less about grades as much as case interview skills and business sense.




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