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how much finance/business knowledge is required?

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:59 am
by Anonymous User
Working on my bidlist as a transfer at CLS. Bidding NYC corporate. A lot of the firms I like from a size/culture perspective do finance, banking, business, capital markets, private equity, m&a, securities, etc.

I know almost nothing about finance. Is there an expectation that I have a good grasp of finance in general and these concepts in particular? Before EIP starts, I'll be trying to get myself at least on decent speaking terms with all of these practice groups. But I was a liberal arts major and the big picture of finance can be a bit hard to grasp.

Should this be a cause for concern? Overthinking it?

Re: how much finance/business knowledge is required?

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:15 am
by Anonymous User
Curious as to the answer as well.

Re: how much finance/business knowledge is required?

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:22 am
by thesealocust
None.

Source: Had none as of June before OCI, will be going to work for a firm doing capital markets / finance work.

Now, getting more will help you make a decision and will ease your learning curve, but they're looking for smart, interested, interesting people - having a background is a plus factor but by no means necessary.

Since then I've become a little geeky, read the WSJ/dealbreaker, enjoy the book barbarians at the gates, understand articles in financial times, took some business law courses, etc. But you definitely don't need any from the beginning.

Re: how much finance/business knowledge is required?

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:24 am
by Anonymous User
thesealocust wrote:None.

Source: Had none as of June before OCI, will be going to work for a firm doing capital markets / finance work.

Now, getting more will help you make a decision and will ease your learning curve, but they're looking for smart, interested, interesting people - having a background is a plus factor but by no means necessary.

Since then I've become a little geeky, read the WSJ/dealbreaker, enjoy the book barbarians at the gates, understand articles in financial times, took some business law courses, etc. But you definitely don't need any from the beginning.

Is none literally none or some basic knowledge that you just assume most people know?

Re: how much finance/business knowledge is required?

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:30 am
by thesealocust
None is literally none, beyond what a reasonable person wanting the job would research prior to the interview. I read the chambers & associate practice area descriptions and stuff before my interviews, but that was about it. The interview will be 90% about you and your background and 10% about why you want the firm and questions about the firm. So some of that might entail asking about corporate practice or saying why you want it, but that's pretty easy to do without extensive background.

Re: how much finance/business knowledge is required?

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:37 am
by Anonymous User
Firms are looking for new associates to pour over 70 page contracts checking for misplaced commas. They're not putting you on the phone with the client to discuss their strategy for the latest leveraged buyout. No knowledge is required to get the SA, but if you know absolutely nothing about finance, it might be difficult for you to explain why you want to become a corporate attorney. I'd also discourage you from attempting to start intelligent discussions about practice groups you know nothing about. It is acceptable to say you're interested in the transactional side generally and would like to get a better sense of what each practice group does over the summer, perhaps through Firm X's [insert firm-speak name for SA rotation program here].

Re: how much finance/business knowledge is required?

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:02 pm
by cantaboot
first year securities attorney: tedious due diligence work/filling blanks in new proxy statements; proofreading and suggesting changes in PPM ...etc

Re: how much finance/business knowledge is required?

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:13 pm
by monkey85
Junior Associates range from business majors to music majors. You don't need any classroom knowledge.

You just need an interest in the field, perhaps, demonstrated by actually having kept up on the market through outside reading (wsj, finance.google, the economist, etc.) and a general understanding of why you find the work exciting.

[EDIT] Also, don't CLS transfers have "mentors"? Go ask him/her.