Big Law to Finance

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Big Law to Finance

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:39 pm

I am currently a summer at an NY firm with a top corporate department. I have a background in finance (undergrad degree, couple of years of work experience prior to law school) and want to make the shift to finance, specifically hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, after a few years of big law.

How easy is this coming from one of the top corporate firms? Which specific practice area should I choose to make this shift? How much big law experience does one need before they would be a serious candidate for such a job?

MrAnon
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Re: Big Law to Finance

Postby MrAnon » Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:57 pm

One or two years.

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Doritos
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Re: Big Law to Finance

Postby Doritos » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:08 pm

How about someone without an undergrad degree in finance & no finance work experience before law school?

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thesealocust
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Re: Big Law to Finance

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:17 pm

There are a small number of firms, and maybe a few practice areas at a few other firms, where if you put your mind to it you could leave after a while and go business side with a financial firm. It's relatively rare, but it absolutely happens, and a lot will depend on your unique situation - though I wouldn't worry too much about your pre-law school background. This kind of move tends to be a 1-2 years at the firm exit option. Plenty of people of that vintage and older move to financial firms doing legal work inhouse, but that's obviously a different animal.

In any case, it will depend a lot on the experience you gain, your personal hustle, client contacts, and the market (broadly and within your sector) at the time you look to jump ship.

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Verity
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Re: Big Law to Finance

Postby Verity » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:39 pm

Make some friends who are like-minded, and start a partnership hedge fund. You'll need about $1M investment capital, personally. If you don't know how to do that, don't have the money, or don't want to risk it, try to go with a firm that handles a lot of that stuff. You might like this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=158643

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thesealocust
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Re: Big Law to Finance

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:45 pm

For the overwhelming majority of people, I'd imagine being employed by a hedge fund would have a staggeringly higher RoI compared to running a hedge fund.

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Verity
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Re: Big Law to Finance

Postby Verity » Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:48 pm

thesealocust wrote:For the overwhelming majority of people, I'd imagine being employed by a hedge fund would have a staggeringly higher RoI compared to running a hedge fund.


For the overwhelming majority of people, buying an index fund would also pay off way higher than picking individual investments. But I'm saying that if OP wants to be an investor and has the knowledge and skill, then that's a possibility, aside from just working for one. Of course, you do need to be an entrepreneur; but somebody does have to run these things, you know. And those somebodies are usually rolling in the green.

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thesealocust
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Re: Big Law to Finance

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:34 am

Verity wrote: And those somebodies are usually rolling in the green.


Well, last I checked like 2x the number of hedge funds were popping out of existence as were coming into existence each year. I think there's a survivorship bias: Gross, Paulson, etc. earn amounts of dollars mere mortals can't comprehend, but for most people who open up a mom & pop hedge fund I don't think rolling in green is guaranteed.

Entrepeunership is good, but so is realism. To that end, I think it's likely the OP was talking about exit options at the "highly compensated employee at successful fund" level rather than "does anybody know where I can secure some 0% teaser rate credit cards I need to fund this great trading strategy I just came up with."

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Verity
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Re: Big Law to Finance

Postby Verity » Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:59 am

thesealocust wrote:
Verity wrote: And those somebodies are usually rolling in the green.


Well, last I checked like 2x the number of hedge funds were popping out of existence as were coming into existence each year. I think there's a survivorship bias: Gross, Paulson, etc. earn amounts of dollars mere mortals can't comprehend, but for most people who open up a mom & pop hedge fund I don't think rolling in green is guaranteed.

Entrepeunership is good, but so is realism. To that end, I think it's likely the OP was talking about exit options at the "highly compensated employee at successful fund" level rather than "does anybody know where I can secure some 0% teaser rate credit cards I need to fund this great trading strategy I just came up with."


Yeah, probably. As for the credit cards, leverage...don't even do it. I'm just throwing this out there as a possibility. If you end up with an awesome transactional job at a top firm that does a lot of HF/BK/CM/MA stuff, and you have a background in finance and know what you're doing, your credentials will at least make it somewhat easier for people to trust you with their money. I think a lot of people get scared or confused about what it takes to plant your own flag, especially on Wall Street. But if you make the right friends and get the right kind of experience, this becomes possible.

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theturkeyisfat
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Re: Big Law to Finance

Postby theturkeyisfat » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:44 am

running a hedge fund would be tough. you would have to hire people with a quantitative finance background, if you don't have that already.

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Verity
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Re: Big Law to Finance

Postby Verity » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:35 pm

theturkeyisfat wrote:running a hedge fund would be tough. you would have to hire people with a quantitative finance background, if you don't have that already.


Usually this is true, especially if you're strategy is focused on math-heavy stuff like stat arb and such. OTOH, if you start up a value-investing type of partnership, the only heavy math you'll be doing is basic algebra. Seems to work though, oddly enough.




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