Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

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Anonymous User
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Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:45 pm

So dudes, I thought I'd give some advice. I see a lot of threads these days, I even think I made one back when I was choosing, about going to law school to end up at a bank or the world of finance in general. Here's my advice: don't do it.

For background, I graduated from HYP then took the usual finance track, ended up working abroad for a few years doing restructuring, hours were terrible but pay was great. But I thought law school would give me better opportunities, and allow me to eventually make my way back to world of finance, also was interested in eventually getting into politics so another reason why I thought law school was a good idea. Flash forward I finish 1L at HYS, working as a summer associate doing transactional work. Deals are kind of cool, but when I saw a 5th year associate looking like he hasn't slept in three days in his office on the phone with a banker as I was walking in to work, I knew who I wanted to be, and it's def not the 5th year. So I dropped out/am in the process of dropping out. I'm finishing up the gig here soon, then gonna take a month or so off before I go back to restructuring. I don't necessarily regret going to law school, it was pretty fun but I lost over a year of solid experience, but it hasn't actually hurt me cause I've ended up at a better shop this time around. Moral of the story, go to law school if you wanna be a lawyer. Also, taking questions.

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thecilent
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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby thecilent » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So dudes, I thought I'd give some advice. I see a lot of threads these days, I even think I made one back when I was choosing, about going to law school to end up at a bank or the world of finance in general. Here's my advice: don't do it.

For background, I graduated from HYP then took the usual finance track, ended up working abroad for a few years doing restructuring, hours were terrible but pay was great. But I thought law school would give me better opportunities, and allow me to eventually make my way back to world of finance, also was interested in eventually getting into politics so another reason why I thought law school was a good idea. Flash forward I finish 1L at HYS, working as a summer associate doing transactional work. Deals are kind of cool, but when I saw a 5th year associate looking like he hasn't slept in three days in his office on the phone with a banker as I was walking in to work, I knew who I wanted to be, and it's def not the 5th year. So I dropped out/am in the process of dropping out. I'm finishing up the gig here soon, then gonna take a month or so off before I go back to restructuring. I don't necessarily regret going to law school, it was pretty fun but I lost over a year of solid experience, but it hasn't actually hurt me cause I've ended up at a better shop this time around. Moral of the story, go to law school if you wanna be a lawyer. Also, taking questions.

You seem really, really dumb.

Danteshek
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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby Danteshek » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:25 pm

You might want to read up on the financial crisis.

TransferRisk
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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby TransferRisk » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:29 pm

e.g., U.S. nearing default because the GOP is ******* crazy. (unlikely, but still possible)

Jobs are still in the gutter.

You go to HYS.



THAT SAID,

If you're unhappy, follow your heart. (corny, I know.)

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby shoeshine » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:31 pm

thecilent wrote:You seem really, really dumb.

+1

admisionquestion
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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby admisionquestion » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:57 pm

So you saw someone who looked like they had not slept and you are dropping out because of that. Cool story bro.

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby MVPson » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:58 pm

Being a lawyer is far from cool. Far from cool.

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sunynp
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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby sunynp » Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:03 pm

So what about the politics angle? That turned out to not be something you wanted to pursue? How did you end up at a corporate practice instead of doing something different your 1L year?

Was there anything else at Harvard that interested you? Did you ever really want to practice law, or were you just getting out of a job that had long hours but great pay? Nothing else sparked your interest but the work you had been doing before?

Did you really need to go to law school to decide who is the power in the client- attorney relationship? You must have known that already. And probably the attorney works longer hours than the finance guys.

PS. These are genuine questions, it is late and I didn't want you to think I was being sarcastic.

Good luck with your finance career.

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rayiner
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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby rayiner » Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:41 pm

Law seems fairly unusual in the number of people who go there wanting to be something besides a lawyer. People who want to work at Google generally don't go to med school, and people who want to be doctors generally don't get PhDs in computer science. So what is it about law that attracts such confused people?

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:20 pm

sunynp wrote:So what about the politics angle? That turned out to not be something you wanted to pursue? How did you end up at a corporate practice instead of doing something different your 1L year?

I'm still interested in politics, but honestly at this point I feel I am too young to pursue any position too seriously as I haven't really built the kind of network necessary for a serious political run. I really wanted to do transactional at a big firm after 1L to get first-hand experience and see if it was something I wanted to pursue.
Was there anything else at Harvard that interested you? Did you ever really want to practice law, or were you just getting out of a job that had long hours but great pay? Nothing else sparked your interest but the work you had been doing before?

I didn't go to Harvard. Law, in the sense most people think of i.e. litigation focused, never really interested me. I wanted to get into deals and M&A. 1L is heavily geared towards lit, so in that sense I wasn't really interested in most of it although k's was pretty cool.

Did you really need to go to law school to decide who is the power in the client- attorney relationship? You must have known that already. And probably the attorney works longer hours than the finance guys.

You have a point, although in my previous field we didn't have a lot of dealings with lawyers. I guess seeing grown men basically being the bitch of some banker made things a lot more real to me. You know, the hours, at least the hours I work as an SA aren't as bad, even the associates I work with. I remember being on a project in Spain pulling 100hour weeks, but then again I definitely enjoyed that work a lot more so it wasn't an issue.

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:29 pm

rayiner wrote:Law seems fairly unusual in the number of people who go there wanting to be something besides a lawyer. People who want to work at Google generally don't go to med school, and people who want to be doctors generally don't get PhDs in computer science. So what is it about law that attracts such confused people?


I think it's slightly defensible. Law is, to get all stoner about it, meta. It's just studying the rules of something, but always the rules of something else. The rules of politics, the rules of medical malpractice, the rules of finance, the rules of corporate tax, whatever - and theoretically, getting good at the meta concept of 'the rules' is something useful for any number of other actual pursuits.

Practically and short-term it's foolish, but long term or conceptually I think it's somewhat rational.

Asterisk: not sober

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rayiner
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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby rayiner » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:42 pm

thesealocust wrote:
rayiner wrote:Law seems fairly unusual in the number of people who go there wanting to be something besides a lawyer. People who want to work at Google generally don't go to med school, and people who want to be doctors generally don't get PhDs in computer science. So what is it about law that attracts such confused people?


I think it's slightly defensible. Law is, to get all stoner about it, meta. It's just studying the rules of something, but always the rules of something else. The rules of politics, the rules of medical malpractice, the rules of finance, the rules of corporate tax, whatever - and theoretically, getting good at the meta concept of 'the rules' is something useful for any number of other actual pursuits.

Practically and short-term it's foolish, but long term or conceptually I think it's somewhat rational.

Asterisk: not sober


As a lawyer you learn and apply the legal rules of finance, politics, whatever. The underlying system is governed by different rules that lawyers do not learn nor understand. Ie: I can represent an aerospace company in a government contract litigation, but that does not mean I understand the "rules" of the aerospace industry, except tangentially.

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby flexityflex86 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:48 pm

if you can make 100k without working 60+ hours a week god bless, and enjoy.

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:05 pm

Ok, I'll bite:

Did you graduate from HYP with a concentration in finance/business or liberal arts? While you suggest that law school is ill advised if one wants to enter finance, do you believe it partly accounts for your ability to move to a better bank? 

Why do you advise not going to LS for finance- because it is difficult to break in via this route? Your post only seems to imply that you are adverse to this path because you don't find the work of a corporate attorney as appealing as banking. But if law school leads to the same end (banking) as opposed to corporate law, where is your objection?

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby Rock-N-Roll » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:33 pm

rayiner wrote:Law seems fairly unusual in the number of people who go there wanting to be something besides a lawyer. People who want to work at Google generally don't go to med school, and people who want to be doctors generally don't get PhDs in computer science. So what is it about law that attracts such confused people?


This is an awesome question!

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby TTH » Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote: Also, taking questions.


Can I borrow some money?

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Gecko of Doom
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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby Gecko of Doom » Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:27 pm

rayiner wrote:So what is it about law that attracts such confused people?

Admissions offices tell them that they can do anything with a law degree?

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby AreJay711 » Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:34 pm

flexityflex86 wrote:if you can make 100k without working 60+ hours a week god bless, and enjoy.

That isn't that hard. I know people in the federal gov't without college degrees and working 35 hours a week that make that much. Of course, that is with 17 years of experience but it still happens. Also, if you want a short term solution, the elevator union starts at like 70K a year so >100K is def possible if you can get to a foreman/management job and when you work more, you get paid more per hour.

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby flexityflex86 » Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:51 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
flexityflex86 wrote:if you can make 100k without working 60+ hours a week god bless, and enjoy.

That isn't that hard. I know people in the federal gov't without college degrees and working 35 hours a week that make that much. Of course, that is with 17 years of experience but it still happens. Also, if you want a short term solution, the elevator union starts at like 70K a year so >100K is def possible if you can get to a foreman/management job and when you work more, you get paid more per hour.

People on this site speak about these union jobs as though anyone can get them if they have the skills.

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby Bronte » Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Was there anything else at Harvard that interested you? Did you ever really want to practice law, or were you just getting out of a job that had long hours but great pay? Nothing else sparked your interest but the work you had been doing before?

I didn't go to Harvard. Law, in the sense most people think of i.e. litigation focused, never really interested me. I wanted to get into deals and M&A. 1L is heavily geared towards lit, so in that sense I wasn't really interested in most of it although k's was pretty cool.


First-year is litigation focused for everyone (and not so much litigation-focused as it is focused on the jurisprudence of generally application, but not really particularly practical, areas of law). Yet many people at top schools who get firm jobs end up doing transactional work. I have a finance background, and I was generally uninterested in the subject matter of, say, crim, which can be said of all the people I knew in LS who were interested in transactional work or finance-type litigation. Most people (who know what's going on) don't think of going to Harvard Law as "litigation focused." At least a solid minority of the people there end up doing transactional work.

At this point, you're probably better off finishing your JD. It's not like you've made a failed attempt at getting into finance. It seems like the value of a JD less the full cost of tuition at this point is more than the value of a third-finished JD less a third the cost of tuition.

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:03 pm

thecilent wrote:You seem really, really dumb.

Start law school and then spit knowledge bro.

Anonymous User wrote:Ok, I'll bite:

Did you graduate from HYP with a concentration in finance/business or liberal arts? While you suggest that law school is ill advised if one wants to enter finance, do you believe it partly accounts for your ability to move to a better bank? 

Why do you advise not going to LS for finance- because it is difficult to break in via this route? Your post only seems to imply that you are adverse to this path because you don't find the work of a corporate attorney as appealing as banking. But if law school leads to the same end (banking) as opposed to corporate law, where is your objection?

Graduated with a degree in economics. I am mostly saying that if you want to get into finance you should go to a good UG and take a job at a bank after you graduate.

I don't know if many people go to law school to start entry level positions at banks... I sure as hell did not intend to go to law school for three years then end up in the exact same position I would have been out of undergrad. I think if people have a background in finance, then want to go to law school so that they can work in corporate for 4-5 years then head back to finance in some capacity, that might work. But after a year of law school and a summer in corporate law I def cannot work as a corporate lawyer for 4-5 to then go back to a position I can likely attain in two to three years.

flexityflex86 wrote:if you can make 100k without working 60+ hours a week god bless, and enjoy.

Reading comp fail bro, big law hours (albeit summer associate hours) are nothing compared to the hours you pull in finance, although they pay is much nicer in finance.
Bronte wrote:First-year is litigation focused for everyone (and not so much litigation-focused as it is focused on the jurisprudence of generally application, but not really particularly practical, areas of law). Yet many people at top schools who get firm jobs end up doing transactional work. I have a finance background, and I was generally uninterested in the subject matter of, say, crim, which can be said of all the people I knew in LS who were interested in transactional work or finance-type litigation. Most people (who know what's going on) don't think of going to Harvard Law as "litigation focused." At least a solid minority of the people there end up doing transactional work.

At this point, you're probably better off finishing your JD. It's not like you've made a failed attempt at getting into finance. It seems like the value of a JD less the full cost of tuition at this point is more than the value of a third-finished JD less a third the cost of tuition.

Dude, I don't go to Harvard, and while I can imagine that a solid amount of people end up doing transactional work at Harvard, my school sends nearly half of the people to fed clerkships. It's probably my fault for choosing the best law school in the country as opposed to the best law school for me.

Not really on your second point. 2 more years of law school is gonna set me back about 100k in tuition, plus about 500k is lost opportunities, plus two years of experience in the field I really like. So when you put it together, putting "JD" on my resume will cost me 600k and 2 years of my working life. Plus, at this point it doesn't matter cause I dropped out already.

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Bronte
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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby Bronte » Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Dude, I don't go to Harvard, and while I can imagine that a solid amount of people end up doing transactional work at Harvard, my school sends nearly half of the people to fed clerkships. It's probably my fault for choosing the best law school in the country as opposed to the best law school for me.

Not really on your second point. 2 more years of law school is gonna set me back about 100k in tuition, plus about 500k is lost opportunities, plus two years of experience in the field I really like. So when you put it together, putting "JD" on my resume will cost me 600k and 2 years of my working life. Plus, at this point it doesn't matter cause I dropped out already.


Going to Yale only improves the calculus. The fact that most people go into clerkships and academia is self-selection. Anyone who wants transactional from Yale can get transactional. If you can get your old job back, then go for. But your post doesn't really speak to what it says it speaks to. I think going into law to get into finance rather than a finance-related legal field is a bad idea. But all your post is really saying is that you realized you shouldn't have gone to law school because law school is training for practicing law and you realized you liked finance better.

You've either got a worthless asset on your hands (an aborted JD) or an asset of debated worth on your hands (a completed Yale or Stanford JD). If you believe the latter is worth less than tuition plus opportunity costs, go for it. But again, it really has little to say about going to law for finance other than what we already know. It's not as if you tried with a JD and failed.

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:12 pm

Bronte wrote:Going to Yale only improves the calculus. The fact that most people go into clerkships and academia is self-selection. Anyone who wants transactional from Yale can get transactional. If you can get your old job back, then go for. But your post doesn't really speak to what it says it speaks to. I think going into law to get into finance rather than a finance-related legal field is a bad idea. But all your post is really saying is that you realized you shouldn't have gone to law school because law school is training for practicing law and you realized you liked finance better.

You've either got a worthless asset on your hands (an aborted JD) or an asset of debated worth on your hands (a completed Yale or Stanford JD). If you believe the latter is worth less than tuition plus opportunity costs, go for it. But again, it really has little to say about going to law for finance other than what we already know. It's not as if you tried with a JD and failed.

I think you are spot on with bolded part. But it's more than just going to law school to get into a finance-related legal field, it's then heading back to pure finance. But yeah, I actually am moving up to a better shop but I think that's in spite of going to law school because I got really lucky with this project, since given my background and experience I am very knowledgeable of the particular country. So yeah, I think if this opportunity wouldn't have prevented itself I probably would have stuck it out with law school but at this point it's not worth the opportunity costs.

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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby flexityflex86 » Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
thecilent wrote:You seem really, really dumb.

Start law school and then spit knowledge bro.

Anonymous User wrote:Ok, I'll bite:

Did you graduate from HYP with a concentration in finance/business or liberal arts? While you suggest that law school is ill advised if one wants to enter finance, do you believe it partly accounts for your ability to move to a better bank? 

Why do you advise not going to LS for finance- because it is difficult to break in via this route? Your post only seems to imply that you are adverse to this path because you don't find the work of a corporate attorney as appealing as banking. But if law school leads to the same end (banking) as opposed to corporate law, where is your objection?

Graduated with a degree in economics. I am mostly saying that if you want to get into finance you should go to a good UG and take a job at a bank after you graduate.

I don't know if many people go to law school to start entry level positions at banks... I sure as hell did not intend to go to law school for three years then end up in the exact same position I would have been out of undergrad. I think if people have a background in finance, then want to go to law school so that they can work in corporate for 4-5 years then head back to finance in some capacity, that might work. But after a year of law school and a summer in corporate law I def cannot work as a corporate lawyer for 4-5 to then go back to a position I can likely attain in two to three years.

flexityflex86 wrote:if you can make 100k without working 60+ hours a week god bless, and enjoy.

Reading comp fail bro, big law hours (albeit summer associate hours) are nothing compared to the hours you pull in finance, although they pay is much nicer in finance.
Bronte wrote:First-year is litigation focused for everyone (and not so much litigation-focused as it is focused on the jurisprudence of generally application, but not really particularly practical, areas of law). Yet many people at top schools who get firm jobs end up doing transactional work. I have a finance background, and I was generally uninterested in the subject matter of, say, crim, which can be said of all the people I knew in LS who were interested in transactional work or finance-type litigation. Most people (who know what's going on) don't think of going to Harvard Law as "litigation focused." At least a solid minority of the people there end up doing transactional work.

At this point, you're probably better off finishing your JD. It's not like you've made a failed attempt at getting into finance. It seems like the value of a JD less the full cost of tuition at this point is more than the value of a third-finished JD less a third the cost of tuition.

Dude, I don't go to Harvard, and while I can imagine that a solid amount of people end up doing transactional work at Harvard, my school sends nearly half of the people to fed clerkships. It's probably my fault for choosing the best law school in the country as opposed to the best law school for me.

Not really on your second point. 2 more years of law school is gonna set me back about 100k in tuition, plus about 500k is lost opportunities, plus two years of experience in the field I really like. So when you put it together, putting "JD" on my resume will cost me 600k and 2 years of my working life. Plus, at this point it doesn't matter cause I dropped out already.

No reading comp fail. OP said s/he left both finance and law, because of the hours.

On this note a lot of law is what you put into it. Most if not the overwhelming majority of lawyers put in a shit ton of hours up front, but there are a lot who do open up shop once they develop expertise, and work somewhat normal 9-5's with plenty of vacation days.

Medicine obviously has the best hours, but they do stay in school till they're 30 so take that with a grain of salt.

I think the entire thing about people getting these positions, and then complaining about them is a huge sense of entitlement. There is no doubt you earned these opportunities through hard work or superior intellect, but what did you expect? A six figure salary is a reward, and not an entitlement. There are many people working multiple jobs who would give an arm to have a job that gave them this much money for their time, but either lack the skills, training or opportunity.

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leobowski
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Re: Going to Law School to get into finance? Don't do it.

Postby leobowski » Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:22 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
flexityflex86 wrote:if you can make 100k without working 60+ hours a week god bless, and enjoy.

That isn't that hard. I know people in the federal gov't without college degrees and working 35 hours a week that make that much. Of course, that is with 17 years of experience but it still happens. Also, if you want a short term solution, the elevator union starts at like 70K a year so >100K is def possible if you can get to a foreman/management job and when you work more, you get paid more per hour.


Are they contractors or something? I thought fed employees maxed out at GS-6 or something without a bachelor's degree.




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