Anonymous User wrote:How often to Weil/Kirkland restructuring associates transition to restructuring groups at banks (Lazard, HL, or Blackstone advisory, which will now be PJT Partners)? Also, can somebody explain what these hybrid law/finance roles exactly are at funds? Thanks!
The short answer to question is not often. In my experience (I worked in a restructuring group in big law firm other than Weil or Kirkland for a few years before moving to a boutique) I have worked with and known associates at both Weil and Kirkland and none of them went to work for any of the places you listed.
Weil is predominately a debtor shop that handles very large chapter 11's (I have not worked with them on out-of-court restructurings) and operates as a mill (which I don't mean that as a bad thing; it's impressive that they could handle a case as large as Lehman). Most of their associates only get to work on a small piece of a large case, which limits there experience and skills. Indeed, I have always been underwhelmed by the quality of legal work that I have seen from Weil. Admittedly, Weil has brand-name recognition, which is why most of the associates that I know who left there (either out of free will or because they were laid off) were able to go to other firms (often top firms).
Kirkland on the other hand handles both major bankruptcy cases as well as large and mid-market out-of-court restructurings. The associates (and partners) I have dealt with from Kirkland are aggressive (they take being assholes to an art-form) and well trained. They also get a lot more substantive work on both the litigation and corporate side of restructurings. While most people I know stay at Kirkland, those who have left also have not gone to work for those places. In fact, the few people I know who left Kirkland have gone in-house at PE funds that act as equity sponsors (probably because they were clients of Kirkland).
At the end of the day, there is a simple reason for this--bankers/financial advisors and lawyers handle very different aspects of a restructuring matter. A banker or financial advisor will spend his time running financial models, performing valuations of assets, and countless other financial analyses in connection. The lawyer will prepare court documents and draft transactional documents. While each of them has a basic idea of what the other one is doing and how the other's work fits into the overall process, there is a reason that debtors and creditors retain both sets of professionals. Each is an expert at what he does.
If you're looking to get a job at one of the places that you listed, you're probably going to need to get an MBA in finance since the few lawyers I know who do work at these places all have an MBA from a top school. I suspect that having experience as a restructuring lawyer will help (it can't hurt), but those firms want people who understand and do finance work.