Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

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Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:21 am

Hey everyone,

If I ultimately have a strong interest in being on the business side of an i-bank, does it make sense for me to start out at a V3 firm? Would this set me up for i-banking as a viable exit opp?

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hey everyone,

If I ultimately have a strong interest in being on the business side of an i-bank, does it make sense for me to start out at a V3 firm? Would this set me up for i-banking as a viable exit opp?


Compared to what? What are your other options? Or is this just a 0L hypothetical?

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:41 am

It's not a 0L hypo. It's a question of whether or not I could smoothly transition into i-banking after 3 or so years at one of those firms. Not sure I want to stay on the legal side. I guess I'm asking, is a V3 necessary to accomplish that goal (versus merely sufficient--as may be the case with other V10s)?

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby meshtdagn » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:45 am

Why, if you wanted to become an investment banker, did you go to school to become a lawyer? Are there not more straitforward paths? I'm genuinely curious---I've seen lot's of people talk about this ITT and it never made sense to me.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:51 am

idk. there is a real possibility that I won't like practicing the law, especially corp. law. if that is the case, then i want an out possibly into the finance world. is it worth it to kill myself at a v3 in order to get into finance? i have multiple v10 opportunities, so i'm weighing the marginal benefits and costs...

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:14 am

My group @ bulge bracket took a star associate from STB a few years ago, but they were truly desperate for help at that time and it was in-between recruiting seasons. We worked a lot with STB on a regular basis, which was a major factor. Thus, coming from a V3 is sufficient but not necessary. Her pre-LS credentials/undergrad probably would have qualified her for a position at the bank even had she not gone to law school.

The law --> IBD transition will depend largely on personal relationships, so the best way is to figure out which banks / groups you are primarily interested in, and which law firms they regularly work with on their major transactions. The general respect that bankers have for lawyers is low, so it is an uphill battle (this never made sense to me though, as both groups are doing drudge work for the client. Comp at lower levels is not hugely different). Helps if you can demonstrate some level of numerical/technical proficiency on the job.

In general, good (not even top) MBA >>> V3 for getting into IBD. If you are really serious about this transition, look into JD/MBA or trying to get into an IBD summer program this summer after legal recruiting is over. Don't forget that the exit options from banking (PE,hedge funds, corp dev, MBA) that make it an attractive option for IBD analysts out of undergrad are largely non-existent if you transition at the IBD associate level. IBD associates are generally seen as career-bankers, and not so much of a target for head-hunters.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:19 am

OP, do you know what i-banking is like? So, you want to spend a few years getting crushed at a law firm, and if you don't like it you want to jump over to i-banking, where your hours will be just as bad (maybe worse) and you will start at the bottom of the totem pole again, grouped in with all of the straight-from-undergrads?

If you are a 2L, go to a firm and see if you like it - to directly answer your question: no, you don't have to be at one of those firms to transition to a bank, but you should be at a solid firm who does a lot of work in the finance space with the top banks. Vault rankings mean little to nothing to non-lawyers, by the way (I worked in finance before going to law school and I know we never paid attention to this - reputations and relationships drove our decisions as to what lawyers to hire).

If you want a good idea of where top financial firms are hiring from, look at the DealBook, Bloomberg, WSJ or similar publications. I've started your work for you:
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/ ... op-lawyer/
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-1 ... unsel.html
(I realize these are general counsel positions at top banks, far more prestigious than an entry level i-banker, but you get the idea)

If you hate your 2L summer firm experience, some of the i-banks hire law school graduates into their investment banking program. I'd start talking to your career services office now and see if they can put you in touch with graduates who have done this. They will have the best insight on what it is like at a bank. It also starts the networking process if you do decide to make the jump. Good luck!

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:29 am

Longshot unless you have credentials that could have landed you an ibanking slot after undergrad.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby meshtdagn » Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:33 am

Yea dude I just don't get it. Sounds like if this is a serious question you went to law school for the wrong reasons. To each their own...

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:55 pm

So what is the point of going to a V3 (specifically S&C or Cravath)?? What are the marginal benefits (namely exit opps) over the rest of V10? Is there some opportunity from which I would be precluded because I went to a lower V10 over a V3?

I know what the marginal costs are. See, e.g., Vault guide excerpt on Cravath ("'On a per-hour basis, winds up being less than other firms because we work harder. But then again, in 2008, the partners took a 25% hit to profits but didn’t cut/freeze salaries or lay off associates.' -New York associate")

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So what is the point of going to a V3 (specifically S&C or Cravath)?? What are the marginal benefits (namely exit opps) over the rest of V10? Is there some opportunity from which I would be precluded because I went to a lower V10 over a V3?

I know what the marginal costs are. See, e.g., Vault guide excerpt on Cravath ("'On a per-hour basis, winds up being less than other firms because we work harder. But then again, in 2008, the partners took a 25% hit to profits but didn’t cut/freeze salaries or lay off associates.' -New York associate")



Also interested in this...

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby rayiner » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:It's not a 0L hypo. It's a question of whether or not I could smoothly transition into i-banking after 3 or so years at one of those firms. Not sure I want to stay on the legal side. I guess I'm asking, is a V3 necessary to accomplish that goal (versus merely sufficient--as may be the case with other V10s)?


A V3 is neither necessary nor sufficient to smoothly transition into i-banking.

When the economy was doing well transitioning into banking was difficult, but possible. Now, with banks laying off people with legit financial/math/business backgrounds, going in from law is going to be nearly impossible. Especially if you didn't have the UG stats to get into an i-bank in the first place.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:23 pm

rayiner wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:It's not a 0L hypo. It's a question of whether or not I could smoothly transition into i-banking after 3 or so years at one of those firms. Not sure I want to stay on the legal side. I guess I'm asking, is a V3 necessary to accomplish that goal (versus merely sufficient--as may be the case with other V10s)?


A V3 is neither necessary nor sufficient to smoothly transition into i-banking.

When the economy was doing well transitioning into banking was difficult, but possible. Now, with banks laying off people with legit financial/math/business backgrounds, going in from law is going to be nearly impossible. Especially if you didn't have the UG stats to get into an i-bank in the first place.


So what's the attraction of a V3 firm?

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby rayiner » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So what is the point of going to a V3 (specifically S&C or Cravath)?? What are the marginal benefits (namely exit opps) over the rest of V10? Is there some opportunity from which I would be precluded because I went to a lower V10 over a V3?

I know what the marginal costs are. See, e.g., Vault guide excerpt on Cravath ("'On a per-hour basis, winds up being less than other firms because we work harder. But then again, in 2008, the partners took a 25% hit to profits but didn’t cut/freeze salaries or lay off associates.' -New York associate")


The point is that S&C and Cravath are very good firms where you can learn how to practice as a lawyer. There are no opportunities from which you are precluded by not going to the "V3" but these firms have certain client relationships with top banks that make it easier to go in-house (in a legal capacity) at these banks. Generally these relationships are:

Cravath - JP Morgan
S&C - Goldman Sachs
DPW - Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan (these days also Citi)
STB - Blackstone, KKR, and other HF/PE funds

If you're interested in working in-house at an investment bank, S&C or DPW are probably your best bets, since they tend to do a lot of underwriter work. Cravath actually tends to do a bit more F500 work, and Skadden does mostly F500 work. STB has strong relations with private equity, but these shops tend to have much leaner in-house legal operations.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So what's the attraction of a V3 firm?


Possibility of lateraling to other V25 firms or to other markets, moving to the DOJ or US Attorney's office (if you're in lit), clerking (most judges now prefer graduates), working on blockbuster deals/cases with partners who are the best at what they do, etc. Naturally, some of this exists at other firms, too, but in general, prestige allows for more of these options.

Not everyone dreams of being an i-banker.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:49 pm

As a former i-banker, I can tell you that as a law school student you will have to either

a) Go right into banking (look for summer associate opportunities in the coming months because they won't do a lot of 3L hiring, if at all) or
b) Do a few years at a law firm, get an MBA, and then go into i-banking.

I have seen people do it both ways, but those are the only ways.

Nothing you will do at a law firm will train you for the real work of an i-banking associate (excel models 24/7). If you want to do i-banking, its now or never

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As a former i-banker, I can tell you that as a law school student you will have to either

a) Go right into banking (look for summer associate opportunities in the coming months because they won't do a lot of 3L hiring, if at all) or
b) Do a few years at a law firm, get an MBA, and then go into i-banking.

I have seen people do it both ways, but those are the only ways.

Nothing you will do at a law firm will train you for the real work of an i-banking associate (excel models 24/7). If you want to do i-banking, its now or never


no banker calls banking "i-banking." care to be more precise about what you did before law school?

as others have said, lateraling from a top m&a law practice to an investment bank was a regular occurrence when the economy was good (i worked at one of GS/MS/JPM, and large proportion of our VPs and EDs were ex-lawyers). that said, making the jump hasnt exactly become easier since the financial crisis.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As a former i-banker, I can tell you that as a law school student you will have to either

a) Go right into banking (look for summer associate opportunities in the coming months because they won't do a lot of 3L hiring, if at all) or
b) Do a few years at a law firm, get an MBA, and then go into i-banking.

I have seen people do it both ways, but those are the only ways.

Nothing you will do at a law firm will train you for the real work of an i-banking associate (excel models 24/7). If you want to do i-banking, its now or never


no banker calls banking "i-banking." care to be more precise about what you did before law school?

as others have said, lateraling from a top m&a law practice to an investment bank was a regular occurrence when the economy was good (i worked at one of GS/MS/JPM, and large proportion of our VPs and EDs were ex-lawyers). that said, making the jump hasnt exactly become easier since the financial crisis.


i am not the original writer of your quoted post, but i have also worked at two of the banks you mentioned, and it is, in fact, often called "ibanking." perhaps other slang terms like IBD are more common, but ibanking is certainly not unheard of.

the few lawyers i know who made the transition got an mba after practicing law at a bigfirm. you really have to be a superstar to go straight from law to banking - i met one who did this and he was from wachtell.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As a former i-banker, I can tell you that as a law school student you will have to either

a) Go right into banking (look for summer associate opportunities in the coming months because they won't do a lot of 3L hiring, if at all) or
b) Do a few years at a law firm, get an MBA, and then go into i-banking.

I have seen people do it both ways, but those are the only ways.

Nothing you will do at a law firm will train you for the real work of an i-banking associate (excel models 24/7). If you want to do i-banking, its now or never


no banker calls banking "i-banking." care to be more precise about what you did before law school?

as others have said, lateraling from a top m&a law practice to an investment bank was a regular occurrence when the economy was good (i worked at one of GS/MS/JPM, and large proportion of our VPs and EDs were ex-lawyers). that said, making the jump hasnt exactly become easier since the financial crisis.



OP here. Seriously, dude? If you want me to be more specific, I worked at a bulge bracket firm in one of their investment banking groups. I called it, "banking, i-banking, IBD, IBK," and a lot of other things I can't write on this board :D I know you wanted me to say that I was in operations at one of those banks (and therefore was making this up), but that's just not the case.

Yes, people have made the jump before, but no bank will take an M&A law firm associate right now when there are a ton of former bankers (who know how to use excel) without jobs. Lawyers don't have the "hard" financial skills they are looking for.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:25 pm

bumping this thread. interested in banking after a few years at a V10.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:17 pm

Bump. Thoughts?

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:57 pm

bump. interested about current insights on this.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:03 pm

There's no more money in i-banking. If you have offers from Wachtell, S&C, Cravath, just stay. You'll feel better about yourself after many of those former i-bankers come to you and ask you how to apply to law school.

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:41 pm

I am a litigator so ignore the obvious ignorance here but what exactly do I bankers do?

It seems like corporate attorneys do a lot of the work putting deals together. Do bankers just set the parameters and then tell lawyers to get it done?

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Re: Wachtell/Cravath/S&C for transition into i-banking

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am a litigator so ignore the obvious ignorance here but what exactly do I bankers do?

It seems like corporate attorneys do a lot of the work putting deals together. Do bankers just set the parameters and then tell lawyers to get it done?


The banks advise on financing and feasibility. There's a lot of economics and a lot of time spent "pitching" transactions done by the bankers - true whether those transactions are capital raising (finance, capital markets, etc. - often involving connection those wishing to raise capital with those with capital to spend) or capital spending (acquisitions, etc. - modeling businesses, "synergies," arranging financing, etc.). In all cases the role of the lawyers is a mix of compliance (highly regulated industry, SEC requirements, antitrust concerns, etc.) and strategy (board voting, poison pills, tax strategies, etc.).

Basically, if you're a company and have a lot of cash, you'll want M&A bankers advising you and helping arrange the financing, and you'll need lawyers to navigate the regulatory playing field and mitigate risk.

Barbarians at the Gates gives you a good sense for how so many parties can be so involved, and the various roles of everyone. Well worth the read.

My practice is capital markets, and it's clear that the bankers I work with are spending a LOT of time on excel, in calls with other finance professionals working on trade details, looking up prices/quotes on bloomberg, following markets, etc.




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