Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

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chenghsiang
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Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby chenghsiang » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:31 am

Do big law firm lawyers end up working in ibank? Or go to Harvard MBA? I realize that a law degree may not land a very high-paying job. If I don't make partner, what are my other possible options?

Thanks guys.

HITeacher2
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby HITeacher2 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:52 am

As a Harvard MBA I can tell you that i-banking jobs actually aren't that popular on campus this year. A few factors, one being that so many of us already did banking and private equity and would rather go back to PE or hedge funds than banking. Also, the lack of stability in the banking world, horrible work/life balance and stigma that comes along with banking. We hear from recruiters banking is still super popular at schools like Stern and Columbia Business School, but HBS isn't having any of it this year.

Consider getting an MBA.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby Lawquacious » Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:12 am

chenghsiang wrote:Do big law firm lawyers end up working in ibank? Or go to Harvard MBA? I realize that a law degree may not land a very high-paying job. If I don't make partner, what are my other possible options?

Thanks guys.


A JD can open doors in the business world generally, especially if it is from a very top school (e.g. Harvard). Lots of people with JDs do go into business, though I'm not sure how this transition might or might not work specifically re: i-banking. If that's your interest, I would go into a program that will train you for banking even if you could maybe otherwise do it through getting a JD. More generally, if you're interested primarily in business and your focus is primarily on whatever is going to make you the most money (rather than having a particular interest in studying and practicing law in some form), then I think the previous poster's advice re: look into MBA is credited. I think looking into JD/MBA programs would also be a good idea if you do have a genuine interest in law.

I felt a bit uneasy with your thread here (and kind of wonder if it is a troll) because I got the impression that your primary professional motivation is simply making a ton of money rather than doing something interesting and useful (I think I got this impression through the implication that a big law salary wouldn't be sufficient for you unless you were earning partner-level pay). In any case, best of luck to you in your endeavors.

chenghsiang
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby chenghsiang » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:11 am

Thanks for your posts. I didn't mean to seem money-obsessed in my OP. I am genuinely having a hard time deciding between pure law or pure business. What if I stick with a big law job yet end up loathing it? Will there be an exit for me to do something else that I might enjoy? These are my concerns. I understand that the JD from the US is a versatile degree. But I'm trying to keep my options open. I might apply to an MBA at a later time in a JD/MBA joint program if I find enough justifications and career flexibility for it.

My undergraduate background wasn't in business. But my Master's thesis was about international business. Yet I've never had any work experience. Am I qualified to apply for an MBA program or a JD/MBA program?

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Lwoods
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby Lwoods » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:21 am

chenghsiang wrote:Thanks for your posts. I didn't mean to seem money-obsessed in my OP. I am genuinely having a hard time deciding between pure law or pure business. What if I stick with a big law job yet end up loathing it? Will there be an exit for me to do something else that I might enjoy? These are my concerns. I understand that the JD from the US is a versatile degree. But I'm trying to keep my options open. I might apply to an MBA at a later time in a JD/MBA joint program if I find enough justifications and career flexibility for it.

My undergraduate background wasn't in business. But my Master's thesis was about international business. Yet I've never had any work experience. Am I qualified to apply for an MBA program or a JD/MBA program?


Get some work experience. Easier said than done, I realize, but with your master's, you'll likely be an attractive candidate for entry-level positions. You can climb the ranks in i-banking or private equity or you can, after a couple years, pursue another graduate degree. I think collecting too many degrees (bachelors, masters + JD or MBA) without gaining work experience can make you an unattractive candidate to employers.

fwiw, one of my former bosses did the BigLaw to investment bank transition, but only after making partner. I didn't really see any associates at the firm where I worked make that transition. Some went to ibanks, but they went to become in-house counsel.

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icouldbuyu
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby icouldbuyu » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:26 am

I have intern experience on Wall Street with a few prestigious Investment Banks. I actually was considering going into IB rather than Big Law because I actually enjoy the work. However, you guys have only mentioned the feasibility of such a transition for a Harvard JD. What about the rest of the T14? You think this is a realistic goal?

chenghsiang
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby chenghsiang » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:33 am

A Big Law associate-level salary of $160,000 is not that big considering a $150,000-$200,000 loans and real estate cost of NYC. If I return to work in Asia, like HK (low income tax and duty-free) and Tokyo, after a few years of work experience and start a bank-related career, would an MBA be a bonus?

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Lokomani
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby Lokomani » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:45 am

chenghsiang wrote:A Big Law associate-level salary of $160,000 is not that big considering a $150,000-$200,000 loans and real estate cost of NYC. If I return to work in Asia, like HK (low income tax and duty-free) and Tokyo, after a few years of work experience and start a bank-related career, would an MBA be a bonus?



We have no idea. How could we possibly tell you about the Asian job market and the marketability of an (I'm assuming) American MBA? At this point you need to research your degrees; don't just collect them. If you already have a Master's, most people (employers especially) will find you less desirable if you get another (unrelated) degree without some substantial work experience. What is your Master's degree in?

HITeacher2
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby HITeacher2 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:44 pm

The only MBA I know to be of great value in Asia is the Harvard MBA, and even then it's a bit of a shot in the dark.

I-Banking is a lot like Big-Law in three ways.
1) You get payed way too much for the high-school level work you do.
2) You work way too many hours to justify that ridiculous pay.
3) You can only be recruited through a specific summer internship.

This is actually one big thing that separates big-law and i-banking from consulting. For consulting, you can get hired your final year of school (be it a senior in undergrad, 2nd year of MBA or 3rd year of a prestigious JD). For banking and big-law, you NEED that internship the summer before or you're not getting in. And just like big-law firms don't go to business school to hire interns, big banks do not go to law school to hire interns. That should answer your question.

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Na_Swatch
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby Na_Swatch » Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:54 pm

HITeacher2 wrote:The only MBA I know to be of great value in Asia is the Harvard MBA, and even then it's a bit of a shot in the dark.

I-Banking is a lot like Big-Law in three ways.
1) You get payed way too much for the high-school level work you do.
2) You work way too many hours to justify that ridiculous pay.
3) You can only be recruited through a specific summer internship.

This is actually one big thing that separates big-law and i-banking from consulting. For consulting, you can get hired your final year of school (be it a senior in undergrad, 2nd year of MBA or 3rd year of a prestigious JD). For banking and big-law, you NEED that internship the summer before or you're not getting in. And just like big-law firms don't go to business school to hire interns, big banks do not go to law school to hire interns. That should answer your question.



Actually going to some financial firm presentations at HLS, big banks do hire law school students as interns (but of course in limited amounts)... The prereqs of prior work experience, preferably financial, remain though. As for schools outside of HYS im not sure I they do

Anonymous User
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:43 pm

I am a T30 1L with 4 years of accounting (both financial and tax) work experience. Chances to break into Private Equity eventually? Any ideas on breaking in?

rundoxierun
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:44 pm

Im really confused about what people on this site mean when they say "become an i-banker with a JD". Isnt analyst pretty much the only position you could possibly get(assuming you have the resume of a typical top law school candidate)?? If so, that pays A LOT less than Biglaw.

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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:57 pm

tkgrrett wrote:Im really confused about what people on this site mean when they say "become an i-banker with a JD". Isnt analyst pretty much the only position you could possibly get(assuming you have the resume of a typical top law school candidate)?? If so, that pays A LOT less than Biglaw.


I'm pretty sure that JD candidates would be applying for associate positions. Analyst positions are for undergrads only.

rundoxierun
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
tkgrrett wrote:Im really confused about what people on this site mean when they say "become an i-banker with a JD". Isnt analyst pretty much the only position you could possibly get(assuming you have the resume of a typical top law school candidate)?? If so, that pays A LOT less than Biglaw.


I'm pretty sure that JD candidates would be applying for associate positions. Analyst positions are for undergrads only.


Wow.. didnt realize that.

Renzo
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby Renzo » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:58 am

HITeacher2 wrote:The only MBA I know to be of great value in Asia is the Harvard MBA, and even then it's a bit of a shot in the dark.

I-Banking is a lot like Big-Law in three ways.
1) You get payed way too much for the high-school level work you do.
2) You work way too many hours to justify that ridiculous pay.
3) You can only be recruited through a specific summer internship.

This is actually one big thing that separates big-law and i-banking from consulting. For consulting, you can get hired your final year of school (be it a senior in undergrad, 2nd year of MBA or 3rd year of a prestigious JD). For banking and big-law, you NEED that internship the summer before or you're not getting in. And just like big-law firms don't go to business school to hire interns, big banks do not go to law school to hire interns. That should answer your question.



#3 isn't exactly true. It's possible to go from being a junior M&A lawyer to investment banking. This assumes you got a biglaw job at a firm that does work with the investment houses, however; so it's not like it changes the calculus much.

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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:23 pm

Generally, it makes no sense to get an top ranked JD/MBA to get into banking because those who go for investment banking or PE positions already had prior experience that enables them to land those banking and PE interviews. If you have no prior experience in those fields and you think with your JD/MBA in this economy would enable you to make a career change into banking or PE, you will be like those students who try to attain top5% at a HYSCCN. It attainable, but the odds are sooooo slim.

It is a buyers market and employers want people with the exact credentials they want. For example, if you didnt cover real estate sector in banking, you'd have extremely slim to no chance to land a position to land a real estate PE position. It's brutal out there.

Snooker
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby Snooker » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:01 pm

Lawquacious wrote:
chenghsiang wrote:Do big law firm lawyers end up working in ibank? Or go to Harvard MBA? I realize that a law degree may not land a very high-paying job. If I don't make partner, what are my other possible options?

Thanks guys.


A JD can open doors in the business world generally, especially if it is from a very top school (e.g. Harvard). Lots of people with JDs do go into business, though I'm not sure how this transition might or might not work specifically re: i-banking. If that's your interest, I would go into a program that will train you for banking even if you could maybe otherwise do it through getting a JD. More generally, if you're interested primarily in business and your focus is primarily on whatever is going to make you the most money (rather than having a particular interest in studying and practicing law in some form), then I think the previous poster's advice re: look into MBA is credited. I think looking into JD/MBA programs would also be a good idea if you do have a genuine interest in law.

I felt a bit uneasy with your thread here (and kind of wonder if it is a troll) because I got the impression that your primary professional motivation is simply making a ton of money rather than doing something interesting and useful (I think I got this impression through the implication that a big law salary wouldn't be sufficient for you unless you were earning partner-level pay). In any case, best of luck to you in your endeavors.


Many people I run across in law school seem to be there out of the motivation that they want to be successful, rather than any interest in being lawyers. This is especially true of the top of the class. Median-ish students talk lots about particular experiences or fields of law that interest them, whereas top 10% students talk endlessly of prestige and big names. (going on a sample of 20+ top 10% students and about 15 middle-of-the pack students). Of course it's concerning to see people motivated only by prestige and money, but the motivation in law schools seems very common.

solidsnake
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby solidsnake » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:04 pm

chenghsiang wrote:A Big Law associate-level salary of $160,000 is not that big considering a $150,000-$200,000 loans and real estate cost of NYC. If I return to work in Asia, like HK (low income tax and duty-free) and Tokyo, after a few years of work experience and start a bank-related career, would an MBA be a bonus?



keep in mind, op, that most US firms want associates to do a couple years in nyc/major US market before secondment to a foreign office.

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Dark Horse
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby Dark Horse » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:54 pm

icouldbuyu wrote:I have intern experience on Wall Street with a few prestigious Investment Banks. I actually was considering going into IB rather than Big Law because I actually enjoy the work. However, you guys have only mentioned the feasibility of such a transition for a Harvard JD. What about the rest of the T14? You think this is a realistic goal?


An associate at my firm recently left to be an i-banker. He was a third-year associate with a law degree from a lower T14. I don't know how common this is, but it can be done.

Snooker wrote:Many people I run across in law school seem to be there out of the motivation that they want to be successful, rather than any interest in being lawyers. This is especially true of the top of the class. Median-ish students talk lots about particular experiences or fields of law that interest them, whereas top 10% students talk endlessly of prestige and big names. (going on a sample of 20+ top 10% students and about 15 middle-of-the pack students). Of course it's concerning to see people motivated only by prestige and money, but the motivation in law schools seems very common.


Among my law school friends, the median students tended to be interested in prestige or big names. Those at the top of the class tended to have a pretty good idea of the kind of law they were interested (one guy knew, from day one, that he was interested in doing regulatory work). I guess it varies, depending on the school you go to, and the friends you have.

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lolschool2011
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby lolschool2011 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:06 pm

chenghsiang wrote:Do big law firm lawyers end up working in ibank? Or go to Harvard MBA? I realize that a law degree may not land a very high-paying job. If I don't make partner, what are my other possible options?

Thanks guys.


Do you know what investment banking is?

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icouldbuyu
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Re: Can one become a i-banker with a law degree?

Postby icouldbuyu » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:07 pm

lolschool2011 wrote:
chenghsiang wrote:Do big law firm lawyers end up working in ibank? Or go to Harvard MBA? I realize that a law degree may not land a very high-paying job. If I don't make partner, what are my other possible options?

Thanks guys.


Do you know what investment banking is?


"Models & Bottles" as one of my former I-Banker employers put it

Edit: This was the complete conversation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvICN8DNMpY




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