Value of CFA

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Anonymous User
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Value of CFA

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:16 pm

What's the value of passing CFA level 1 for a corporate lawyer? What about passing all three levels? I'm looking to go into finance/business after working for a few years as a lawyer at a NYC V5. I went to HYS, and studied economics at an Ivy UG with a mathematically rigorous economics program. Would passing the CFA exams add much value for me?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat May 24, 2014 11:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:35 pm

Doubt you would even need to pass all three. In fact, you would probably be well off passing Level 1 and networking with your clients depending on what you want to do. If you want to do Investment Banking, CFA Level 1 would be enough, or more than necessary. But going into investments or portfolio management roles without a CFA would probably be near impossible. If working as an analyst at a hedge fund or associate at a PE firm are things you want to do, the CFA is pretty valuable as a sign of (1) demonstrated interest in the field, and (2) demonstrated quantitative ability. The fact you have a good econ gpa from an ivy is probably a huge plus also. What do you do in the corporate group? (i.e. who are your clients?)

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:Doubt you would even need to pass all three. In fact, you would probably be well off passing Level 1 and networking with your clients depending on what you want to do. If you want to do Investment Banking, CFA Level 1 would be enough, or more than necessary. But going into investments or portfolio management roles without a CFA would probably be near impossible. If working as an analyst at a hedge fund or associate at a PE firm are things you want to do, the CFA is pretty valuable as a sign of (1) demonstrated interest in the field, and (2) demonstrated quantitative ability. The fact you have a good econ gpa from an ivy is probably a huge plus also. What do you do in the corporate group? (i.e. who are your clients?)


I do M&A right now. Though the firm emphasizes generalist training, so I will not end up doing M&A for long.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Danger Zone » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:08 am

If you can pass the level one, I don't see why you would go to law school at all.

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:43 am

Hi,

I passed CFA Level 1 already and I am preparing for the October LSAT for Fall 2014 admissions.

I plan to take a similar route as the OP. My undergrad degree (3.9GPA) is in Management, Economics and Finance plus I have 3+ years experience in Finance and Banking (think business valuations, sell side and buys side due diligence, Credit Analysis, Auditing etc).

My hope is that my transition to corporate law should be pretty manageable given my background. I am doing Level 2 in June 2014 before I start law school (its a re-take so it should not be too demanding while I start preparing for Law School in Fall).

OP, I am in a position where I might be able to learn business modelling (at my current job) before I start law school. Do you think that there will ever be a need for business modelling skills as a corporate lawyer?

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Danger Zone » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi,

I passed CFA Level 1 already and I am preparing for the October LSAT for Fall 2014 admissions.

I plan to take a similar route as the OP. My undergrad degree (3.9GPA) is in Management, Economics and Finance plus I have 3+ years experience in Finance and Banking (think business valuations, sell side and buys side due diligence, Credit Analysis, Auditing etc).

My hope is that my transition to corporate law should be pretty manageable given my background. I am doing Level 2 in June 2014 before I start law school (its a re-take so it should not be too demanding while I start preparing for Law School in Fall).

OP, I am in a position where I might be able to learn business modelling (at my current job) before I start law school. Do you think that there will ever be a need for business modelling skills as a corporate lawyer?

Why do you hate yourself so much?

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi,

I passed CFA Level 1 already and I am preparing for the October LSAT for Fall 2014 admissions.

I plan to take a similar route as the OP. My undergrad degree (3.9GPA) is in Management, Economics and Finance plus I have 3+ years experience in Finance and Banking (think business valuations, sell side and buys side due diligence, Credit Analysis, Auditing etc).

My hope is that my transition to corporate law should be pretty manageable given my background. I am doing Level 2 in June 2014 before I start law school (its a re-take so it should not be too demanding while I start preparing for Law School in Fall).

OP, I am in a position where I might be able to learn business modelling (at my current job) before I start law school. Do you think that there will ever be a need for business modelling skills as a corporate lawyer?


OP here. I can see two sources of value. It's always good to understand the business of your clients (whether a bank or a corporation). Business modeling skills can help you do that as a young lawyer. Second, prior experience in finance/business is always a great talking point during your interviews. People tend to under-emphasize the importance of non-1L-grade factors on TLS. However, firms like Cravath/S&C/Wachtell (all of which have close relationships with top financial institutions such as Goldman/JPM) care quite a bit about whether you would be able to talk in clients' language.

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Doubt you would even need to pass all three. In fact, you would probably be well off passing Level 1 and networking with your clients depending on what you want to do. If you want to do Investment Banking, CFA Level 1 would be enough, or more than necessary. But going into investments or portfolio management roles without a CFA would probably be near impossible. If working as an analyst at a hedge fund or associate at a PE firm are things you want to do, the CFA is pretty valuable as a sign of (1) demonstrated interest in the field, and (2) demonstrated quantitative ability. The fact you have a good econ gpa from an ivy is probably a huge plus also. What do you do in the corporate group? (i.e. who are your clients?)


I do M&A right now. Though the firm emphasizes generalist training, so I will not end up doing M&A for long.



Ok, so what type of financial role would you want to transition to? It you are really interested in Investment Banking or PE, I would probably try to take on as much M&A work as possible. Just because the firm emphasizes being a generalist doesn't mean you have to do it, especially if you don't want to be there in two years. Other people I know worked in investment fund formation practices and have transitioned to places like Blackstone, KKR, and other mega PE shops, in a mixed finance-legal role in creating funds of funds and other alternative asset investment structures. I would think in both cases, a CFA Level 1 would be good to show desire to switch to finance and aptitude. However, these people switched without having to take the CFA. I also know a guy who went from M&A --> IBanking --> Private Banking and never got a CFA (though he may be getting one now to advance in his new portfolio manager role)

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi,

I passed CFA Level 1 already and I am preparing for the October LSAT for Fall 2014 admissions.

I plan to take a similar route as the OP. My undergrad degree (3.9GPA) is in Management, Economics and Finance plus I have 3+ years experience in Finance and Banking (think business valuations, sell side and buys side due diligence, Credit Analysis, Auditing etc).

My hope is that my transition to corporate law should be pretty manageable given my background. I am doing Level 2 in June 2014 before I start law school (its a re-take so it should not be too demanding while I start preparing for Law School in Fall).

OP, I am in a position where I might be able to learn business modelling (at my current job) before I start law school. Do you think that there will ever be a need for business modelling skills as a corporate lawyer?


Not so much your modeling skills - you will NEVER be helping bankers out on their models - but definitely for understanding how companies capitalize themselves, how the 3 accounting statements interact, and why companies are making the decisions that they are currently making. Plus, it is a great skill to have in case (1) you don't get a firm job, (2) you hate law, or (3) you decide that law school would be an epic waste of your time (which you should).

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hi,

I passed CFA Level 1 already and I am preparing for the October LSAT for Fall 2014 admissions.

I plan to take a similar route as the OP. My undergrad degree (3.9GPA) is in Management, Economics and Finance plus I have 3+ years experience in Finance and Banking (think business valuations, sell side and buys side due diligence, Credit Analysis, Auditing etc).

My hope is that my transition to corporate law should be pretty manageable given my background. I am doing Level 2 in June 2014 before I start law school (its a re-take so it should not be too demanding while I start preparing for Law School in Fall).

OP, I am in a position where I might be able to learn business modelling (at my current job) before I start law school. Do you think that there will ever be a need for business modelling skills as a corporate lawyer?


OP here. I can see two sources of value. It's always good to understand the business of your clients (whether a bank or a corporation). Business modeling skills can help you do that as a young lawyer. Second, prior experience in finance/business is always a great talking point during your interviews. People tend to under-emphasize the importance of non-1L-grade factors on TLS. However, firms like Cravath/S&C/Wachtell (all of which have close relationships with top financial institutions such as Goldman/JPM) care quite a bit about whether you would be able to talk in clients' language.


Thanks OP :D ! I feel the same way. My research on TLS made me think that having a finance background would not really add much value to my career as a corporate lawyer which seemed really odd to me.

BTW CFA Level 1 is a breeze i studied for 3 months while working full time and passed on my first attempt, Level 2 is a whole other story, June 2014 would be my 3rd attempt :(

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Saman » Tue May 12, 2015 6:52 am

I am corporate lawyer in the Energy sector in Sui Northern Gas Pipelines in Pakistan and have been thinking about taking the CFA exams but I am not sure how useful it is going to be for me? I basically want to take the exams to give me an edge in the company and to advance my career. How useful is it going to be for me? We go through many transactions that include a huge chunk of finance related clauses with the SBLCs, Payment methods and it is all very alien to me. Would it really help obtaining a CFA? I am completely clueless.

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby PapaMolly » Wed May 13, 2015 2:42 am

http://www.mergersandinquisitions.com/b ... he-lawyer/

"Self-study financial modeling training programs like Breaking Into Wall Street will be helpful, and even the CFA – which I am normally not a fan of – could help prove your aptitude for numbers.

The CFA is not the most efficient use of your time if you’re just preparing for interviews, so stick to self-study and investment banking interview guides unless you have a surplus of free time."

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby stig2014 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:50 pm

Sorry to bump, but I'm interested in whether or not CFA can cause someone to be viewed as a potential flight risk for legal employment; specifically BigLaw firms? I've heard this before, but not sure how much truth there is to it.

0L attending a T14 next fall, looking to practice in capital markets, securities, or M&A, so I think having the background that the CFA provides would be helpful, but I don't want firms to view this negatively.

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby NYbarguy » Sun Jan 17, 2016 1:34 pm

stig2014 wrote:Sorry to bump, but I'm interested in whether or not CFA can cause someone to be viewed as a potential flight risk for legal employment; specifically BigLaw firms? I've heard this before, but not sure how much truth there is to it.

0L attending a T14 next fall, looking to practice in capital markets, securities, or M&A, so I think having the background that the CFA provides would be helpful, but I don't want firms to view this negatively.


If you're worried about it, don't list it on your resume, and don't bring it up during interviews. This concern is not a valid reason for not pursuing the CFA, in my opinion.

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BmoreOrLess
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Re: Value of CFA

Postby BmoreOrLess » Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:04 pm

I cant imagine you'd have a tough time spinning it. Esp. level 1. Just say something along the lines of "I did it, and realized I didn't want to be an excel monkey as an analyst and am more interested in how transactions are structured rather than the underlying financials/economics." Not a CFA, but worked in finance and that seemed to work well for me at OCI.

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby NYbarguy » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:17 pm

BmoreOrLess wrote:I cant imagine you'd have a tough time spinning it. Esp. level 1. Just say something along the lines of "I did it, and realized I didn't want to be an excel monkey as an analyst and am more interested in how transactions are structured rather than the underlying financials/economics." Not a CFA, but worked in finance and that seemed to work well for me at OCI.


It's one thing to explain why you left a career in finance to go to law school, and it's another to explain why you decided to pursue a finance designation either immediately before law school (after having been accepted) or during law school. The latter clearly suggests that you have doubts about whether you want to remain in law. I think that the best course of action is to avoid the issue altogether by not advertising the fact that you are pursuing a CFA designation. Don't mention it.

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:39 pm

I think if you are shooting for corporate law gigs it's a positive. Many firms pay a bonus and/or give advanced standing to JD/MBA's and they push finance CLE's pretty hard so they clearly appreciate that type of knowledge.

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Re: Value of CFA

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:08 am

As someone that went to a run-of-the-mill-meh state undergrad, had good but not great grades (3.7), studied hard for the LSAT and ended up at CCN then a v5...I will never understand the decision to go to law school and strive for biglaw if you have a degree, and great grades, from an elite undergrad.

Maybe I am missing the point because I went to law school purely to upgrade the school name on my resume and for the $, and consequently I now more or less hate my job, but can't you find something better to do with your life? You must have so many opportunities available to you that I could never have dreamed about, and now we will end up in the same place. Take the advice from this board seriously - big law isn't worth it. Especially not when you have other opportunities as I am sure you do.




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