Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

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Anonymous User
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Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:09 pm

Some firms I'm interviewing with have strong investments and finance practices. I bid on the firms for other practice groups, but the guys interviewing me are investment/ finance/ M&A guys.

Any reading or research I can do in case the conversation goes in that direction? I don't want to seem totally oblivious.

BeachedBrit
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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby BeachedBrit » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:14 pm

Quick and easy read would be something like The Big Short by Michael Lewis.

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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:16 pm

Any shortcuts for this? As in not reading a book?

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Bronte
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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby Bronte » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:35 pm

The Big Short is a short, pop-finance book. That's about as short of a cut as you're going to get. But I wouldn't worry about it. Big law interviews are not usually substantive.

If you are going to worry anyway, I suppose you could start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finance. If you look at the right side of of the page, there's a little drop down menu that has the entire hierarchy of Wikipedia articles pertaining to finance. I would focus on "Financial Markets" and "Corporate Finance." If you get through those, "Financial Instruments" and "Banks and Banking" would also probably be good reading.

BeachedBrit
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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby BeachedBrit » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:36 pm

You can really read the book in an afternoon, literally, start it now and you'll be done by bed time.

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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:44 pm

BeachedBrit wrote:You can really read the book in an afternoon, literally, start it now and you'll be done by bed time.


OP here. Is it really that good? I'll go get it from the library.

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dingbat
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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby dingbat » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any shortcuts for this? As in not reading a book?

Not if you want a meaningful conversation

shock259
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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby shock259 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:01 pm

I've probably done 40 interviews this EIP and expressed an interest in the same practice areas and not a single person has asked me anything about finance. They don't expect you to know anything. One partner admitted he knew nothing about finance when he started. They teach you what you need to know.

Have an answer for why transactional, but you don't need to know anything more at this stage.

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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:57 pm

shock259 wrote:I've probably done 40 interviews this EIP and expressed an interest in the same practice areas and not a single person has asked me anything about finance. They don't expect you to know anything. One partner admitted he knew nothing about finance when he started. They teach you what you need to know.

Have an answer for why transactional, but you don't need to know anything more at this stage.


What would be an appropriate answer for "why transactional?", given that most 1L's don't get any exposure to what transactional practice is like?

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Bronte
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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby Bronte » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
shock259 wrote:I've probably done 40 interviews this EIP and expressed an interest in the same practice areas and not a single person has asked me anything about finance. They don't expect you to know anything. One partner admitted he knew nothing about finance when he started. They teach you what you need to know.

Have an answer for why transactional, but you don't need to know anything more at this stage.


What would be an appropriate answer for "why transactional?", given that most 1L's don't get any exposure to what transactional practice is like?


You like going through lengthy documents and changing numbers and party names?

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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:03 pm

shock259 wrote:I've probably done 40 interviews this EIP and expressed an interest in the same practice areas and not a single person has asked me anything about finance. They don't expect you to know anything. One partner admitted he knew nothing about finance when he started. They teach you what you need to know.

Have an answer for why transactional, but you don't need to know anything more at this stage.


Does this general common wisdom still apply at the callback stage, or should you be able to demonstrate a bit more of an understanding by then?

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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:27 pm

This is the third person I've heard who basically said "they didn't teach corporate law during 1L, only litigation, how can a firm expect me to know corporate?" The answer is that if you actually want corporate over litigation, you would have read The Big Short, read the WSJ/FT in school, and have gone to corporate/securities law events as a 1L. You can't just create a valid interest over night because you hated 1L litigation or got an interview with a corp/inv shop. I was asked several times about it on my CBs and even quizzed on current events in their industry at a handful of firms.

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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:49 pm

Is The Big Short really helpful? Seems like an account of recent events rather than a guide to transactional practice. Is it just for context?

keg411
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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby keg411 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is The Big Short really helpful? Seems like an account of recent events rather than a guide to transactional practice. Is it just for context?


For one, it's a really good book and Michael Lewis explains how the financial industry works to a total novice in the most simplistic way possible (if you want something older, also try "Liar's Poker", which he also wrote).

"Barbarians at the Gate" is also a good read (but this is going to take you more than a day or two).

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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby thesealocust » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:03 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:This is the third person I've heard who basically said "they didn't teach corporate law during 1L, only litigation, how can a firm expect me to know corporate?" The answer is that if you actually want corporate over litigation, you would have read The Big Short, read the WSJ/FT in school, and have gone to corporate/securities law events as a 1L. You can't just create a valid interest over night because you hated 1L litigation or got an interview with a corp/inv shop. I was asked several times about it on my CBs and even quizzed on current events in their industry at a handful of firms.


Sure you can. And rofl @ being "quizzed on current events in their industry."

Anonymous User wrote:Is The Big Short really helpful?


Nope. I mean more useful than reading Harry Potter the week before your interview, but...

Barbarians at the Gates might be useful, but primarily for your own info. Although you never know - some of the lawyers in that book are still at big NYC firms, which can make for an interesting conversation starter!

In general, a basis for interest and curiosity is enough of a sell for corporate work in NYC. You don't have to be an expert.

One of my favorite moments was asking a Cravath partner who was about 10 years older than god why he picked Corporate. His answer?

"I knew I hated litigation, but I had no idea what corporate was."

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Bronte
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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby Bronte » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is The Big Short really helpful? Seems like an account of recent events rather than a guide to transactional practice. Is it just for context?


Yes, it is a popular book about current events that will teach you a bit about the financial markets. It will not make you an expert in high finance and will certainly not teach you much about transactional law. The request was for something to help show interest in transactional practice, not something to help one conduct s transactional practice.

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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby transfer dilemma » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:58 pm

http://www.khanacademy.org/finance-econ ... -finance?k

~10 minute videos explaining finance concepts in very basic terms. You definitely don't need to watch every one, and he's pretty good about telling you about other videos you might want to watch for context. He does make some mistakes when he's explaining things, but they're usually errors in basic math, and he usually catches them.

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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:26 am

Alternately "The Rise and Fall of LTCM (Long Term Capital Management) is great and gives you stuff that partners will know all about.

LawIdiot86
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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby LawIdiot86 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:44 am

thesealocust wrote:
LawIdiot86 wrote:This is the third person I've heard who basically said "they didn't teach corporate law during 1L, only litigation, how can a firm expect me to know corporate?" The answer is that if you actually want corporate over litigation, you would have read The Big Short, read the WSJ/FT in school, and have gone to corporate/securities law events as a 1L. You can't just create a valid interest over night because you hated 1L litigation or got an interview with a corp/inv shop. I was asked several times about it on my CBs and even quizzed on current events in their industry at a handful of firms.


Sure you can. And rofl @ being "quizzed on current events in their industry."

I had a screener two weeks ago with a market-paying firm in DC that started by them picking an industry signal off my resume and asking me if I'd heard of two recent cases in that industry. I had heard of one and could bluff the other, but my lack of in-depth knowledge on them seemed to hurt me.

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thesealocust
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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby thesealocust » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:48 am

So... they asked you about something on your resume?

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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby LawIdiot86 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:08 am

thesealocust wrote:So... they asked you about something on your resume?


No, my resume had "I interned with a fishing agency in DC last year" and they asked "could you give us your thoughts on the fishing law case that was handed down last week in California."

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SweetrollStealer
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Re: Showing interest in investments/ finance/ M&A practice

Postby SweetrollStealer » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:32 am

From my limited experience (SA) it seems like most corporate associates don't really understand the nitty gritty of finance either. "Interest" in doing corporate/transactional v. litigation can be expressed at a very high level, no need to go try to teach yourself how a synthetic CDO works in one day :wink:




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