Law v. Consulting

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Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:26 pm

Currently a second year at a top NYC law firm in the corporate department. Because of some of my work experience before law school, an opportunity to be a consultant/associate at one of MBB opened up to me. I know little about consulting other than it tends to look at the big picture. It was something I never thought much about. I like the work I am doing at my firm, but sometimes focusing on the minutia seems like I may come to not like the work. Anyone have any first hand knowledge on consulting? From my research the hours are long, much like Big Law. The hours also involve traveling. But all nighters seem less likely than Big Law, at least from my research. Any personal experiences would be awesome, including salaries. TYIA

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Currently a second year at a top NYC law firm in the corporate department. Because of some of my work experience before law school, an opportunity to be a consultant/associate at one of MBB opened up to me. I know little about consulting other than it tends to look at the big picture. It was something I never thought much about. I like the work I am doing at my firm, but sometimes focusing on the minutia seems like I may come to not like the work. Anyone have any first hand knowledge on consulting? From my research the hours are long, much like Big Law. The hours also involve traveling. But all nighters seem less likely than Big Law, at least from my research. Any personal experiences would be awesome, including salaries. TYIA


Work: Just as much about details as law (which is correlated with your seniority more than industry). Consulting is more quantitative than law (especially Bain and McK). In law, especially NYC V5 securities/m&a, you are usually either working on huge deals (size makes the deal important to the client) or on smaller complex deals (which has strategic importance to the client). In consulting, you will be working on a larger piece of a project of less importance to the client compared to projects you work on at a top NYC law firm.

Life style: Consulting requires much more traveling, which becomes a pain very quickly (despite all the miles) and is tough if your significant other is in NYC. Global staffing sounds cool, but in reality sucks unless you have no ties to any place and would be happy to spend weekends in random places.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:58 pm

Thank you for your response.

A few questions. With the work, does consulting focus on the big picture? I like law, but the constant t negotiation over the definition of materiality or whether material adverse effect should be used rather than materiality gets a little tedious. Strategy seems like something I might be interested in. Details yes, but the forest not the trees.

My ties are nebulous as I moved quite a bit when younger. So traveling is fine by me. From my research, traveling seemed to be Monday through Thursday and back for Friday. Some cases involve staying over weekends? Also, I participate in cross fit completions. Will I still have time to get my workouts in?

Thanks again for any info you send over

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:35 am

Hi - I've worked in both Consulting (briefly) and am currently in law school and going to work at a V50 firm. I would not recommend the switch if you are happy what you're doing right now.

Generally, pay, especially in partnership, is considerably lower while exit options are comparable. Most of all, though, the work-life balance in consulting is truly deplorable, leading to higher attrition at MBB than even in NYC biglaw, which is bad. at McK you will travel 5 days a week, often leaving at 6 am on Monday, and at BB 4 days a week. If you happen to make partner (which is harder at a consulting firm than in law b/c they are more pyramid-shaped than most, but not all firms) it is a pretty good gig I would guess - good pay without billable hours crap. But again, biglaw partners in NYC on the transactional side will probably generally make a bit higher than consulting.

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:27 pm

Bumping for any other thoughts? Is consulting more intellectually challenging? Is consulting more fast paced than the legal side of deals?

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby WhirledWorld » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Bumping for any other thoughts? Is consulting more intellectually challenging? Is consulting more fast paced than the legal side of deals?


I chose V5 over MBB. Probably the biggest factor in that decision was the quality of life -- at least in biglaw you can sleep in your own bed and spend your few hours of free time with friends/family.

Re: intellectually challenging... eh, it's kind of a wash. Both involve some pretty mindless work. But at least at the junior level, associates at MBB win out over junior lawyers. I mean, I love doing cases, and if there were a job where I could just do short cases all day, it'd be awesome. But in either job there will be soul-sucking tedium.

As to the pace, compared to legal deal work, consulting is a snooze fest. Biglaw deals involve huge, transformative changes that usually wind up in the WSJ. A lot can change overnight and most deal cycles don't last too long. The spell between signing and closing can be boring, though. In comparison, consulting projects can last a lot longer. Also, you never really get to implement your advice, which can be a little frustrating since you never really get to see how you add value.

Exit options should be a big deciding factor too. Would you rather work in in-house strategy or in-house legal? How important is client contact (consulting definitely wins in that regard)?

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby hellojd » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi - I've worked in both Consulting (briefly) and am currently in law school and going to work at a V50 firm. I would not recommend the switch if you are happy what you're doing right now.

Generally, pay, especially in partnership, is considerably lower while exit options are comparable. Most of all, though, the work-life balance in consulting is truly deplorable, leading to higher attrition at MBB than even in NYC biglaw, which is bad. at McK you will travel 5 days a week, often leaving at 6 am on Monday, and at BB 4 days a week. If you happen to make partner (which is harder at a consulting firm than in law b/c they are more pyramid-shaped than most, but not all firms) it is a pretty good gig I would guess - good pay without billable hours crap. But again, biglaw partners in NYC on the transactional side will probably generally make a bit higher than consulting.


There's so much faulty info in this thread that I don't know where to start. Not posting anonymously so OP feel free to msg me, unlike a lot of those here I've been at / will be at MBB and a v5.

Pay is higher ACROSS the BOARD in MBB after you factor in bonus and retirement contributions, and gets progressively more lopsided. If you get promoted to EM at McK (typcially two years after you come in as associate, give or take 6 months) you're clearing at least 250 on the low end. Two years later at AP? 400 on the low end. I can't think of too many non-WLRK where you're making that as a 4th year associate in Big Law.

Exit opportunity comparisons are stupid, they are completely different. If you do MBB, you will have fantastic, and I mean AMAZING business opportunities available to you. If you do a v5, then you have legal exit ops, and theres been discussion regarding that ad nauseum on this forum so I won't go into that.

I don't really get QOL comparisons either, I'm not sure either is better really just different. yes, you will travel at MBB and work hard at the client site. but You typically get your fri nights and weekends completely off (maybe 1-2 hrs of e-mails and such at your election). And the predictability is typically there. Biglaw associates don't travel, but if you're at a v5 I'd be shocked if you also aren't working long hours some weeks, and last minute get your weekends ruined.

Making partner is difficult in either field, but it's easier at MBB all things being equal. At McK, which I have more experience with, the rough rule of thumb is that 1/2 of associates make EM -> 1/2 EM makes AP -> 1/2 to 2/3 AP makes partner. That's somewhat around 1/8 of incoming associates. Just call it 1/10 to be conservative. That's still much better odds than most v5 nyc law firms. BUT, you have to keep in mind that roughly half the departures are completely voluntary since the exit options are amazing. After about a year or two at MBB, you're gonna have fantastic opportunties open to you, unlike in BigLaw where the opps are just smaller city, in-house legal, and the others that are typically a downgrade.

Finally, the people who say you work on insignificant projects as an associate at MBB have no idea what they're saying. Of course, you do have the occassional crappy project/client, no doubt about it. But these firms are top of the line and the first ones the CEOs call for the issues on their mind. You don't show up in the WSJ cause these are CONFIDENTIAL engagements - no CEO wants to admit publicly and blab to the world they brought in McK for help.

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby iliketurtles123 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:16 pm

hellojd wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hi - I've worked in both Consulting (briefly) and am currently in law school and going to work at a V50 firm. I would not recommend the switch if you are happy what you're doing right now.

Generally, pay, especially in partnership, is considerably lower while exit options are comparable. Most of all, though, the work-life balance in consulting is truly deplorable, leading to higher attrition at MBB than even in NYC biglaw, which is bad. at McK you will travel 5 days a week, often leaving at 6 am on Monday, and at BB 4 days a week. If you happen to make partner (which is harder at a consulting firm than in law b/c they are more pyramid-shaped than most, but not all firms) it is a pretty good gig I would guess - good pay without billable hours crap. But again, biglaw partners in NYC on the transactional side will probably generally make a bit higher than consulting.


There's so much faulty info in this thread that I don't know where to start. Not posting anonymously so OP feel free to msg me, unlike a lot of those here I've been at / will be at MBB and a v5.

Pay is higher ACROSS the BOARD in MBB after you factor in bonus and retirement contributions, and gets progressively more lopsided. If you get promoted to EM at McK (typcially two years after you come in as associate, give or take 6 months) you're clearing at least 250 on the low end. Two years later at AP? 400 on the low end. I can't think of too many non-WLRK where you're making that as a 4th year associate in Big Law.

Exit opportunity comparisons are stupid, they are completely different. If you do MBB, you will have fantastic, and I mean AMAZING business opportunities available to you. If you do a v5, then you have legal exit ops, and theres been discussion regarding that ad nauseum on this forum so I won't go into that.

I don't really get QOL comparisons either, I'm not sure either is better really just different. yes, you will travel at MBB and work hard at the client site. but You typically get your fri nights and weekends completely off (maybe 1-2 hrs of e-mails and such at your election). And the predictability is typically there. Biglaw associates don't travel, but if you're at a v5 I'd be shocked if you also aren't working long hours some weeks, and last minute get your weekends ruined.

Making partner is difficult in either field, but it's easier at MBB all things being equal. At McK, which I have more experience with, the rough rule of thumb is that 1/2 of associates make EM -> 1/2 EM makes AP -> 1/2 to 2/3 AP makes partner. That's somewhat around 1/8 of incoming associates. Just call it 1/10 to be conservative. That's still much better odds than most v5 nyc law firms. BUT, you have to keep in mind that roughly half the departures are completely voluntary since the exit options are amazing. After about a year or two at MBB, you're gonna have fantastic opportunties open to you, unlike in BigLaw where the opps are just smaller city, in-house legal, and the others that are typically a downgrade.

Finally, the people who say you work on insignificant projects as an associate at MBB have no idea what they're saying. Of course, you do have the occassional crappy project/client, no doubt about it. But these firms are top of the line and the first ones the CEOs call for the issues on their mind. You don't show up in the WSJ cause these are CONFIDENTIAL engagements - no CEO wants to admit publicly and blab to the world they brought in McK for help.


+1
holy crap @ the misinformation in this thread

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:22 am

hellojd wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hi - I've worked in both Consulting (briefly) and am currently in law school and going to work at a V50 firm. I would not recommend the switch if you are happy what you're doing right now.

Generally, pay, especially in partnership, is considerably lower while exit options are comparable. Most of all, though, the work-life balance in consulting is truly deplorable, leading to higher attrition at MBB than even in NYC biglaw, which is bad. at McK you will travel 5 days a week, often leaving at 6 am on Monday, and at BB 4 days a week. If you happen to make partner (which is harder at a consulting firm than in law b/c they are more pyramid-shaped than most, but not all firms) it is a pretty good gig I would guess - good pay without billable hours crap. But again, biglaw partners in NYC on the transactional side will probably generally make a bit higher than consulting.


There's so much faulty info in this thread that I don't know where to start. Not posting anonymously so OP feel free to msg me, unlike a lot of those here I've been at / will be at MBB and a v5.

Pay is higher ACROSS the BOARD in MBB after you factor in bonus and retirement contributions, and gets progressively more lopsided. If you get promoted to EM at McK (typcially two years after you come in as associate, give or take 6 months) you're clearing at least 250 on the low end. Two years later at AP? 400 on the low end. I can't think of too many non-WLRK where you're making that as a 4th year associate in Big Law.

Exit opportunity comparisons are stupid, they are completely different. If you do MBB, you will have fantastic, and I mean AMAZING business opportunities available to you. If you do a v5, then you have legal exit ops, and theres been discussion regarding that ad nauseum on this forum so I won't go into that.

I don't really get QOL comparisons either, I'm not sure either is better really just different. yes, you will travel at MBB and work hard at the client site. but You typically get your fri nights and weekends completely off (maybe 1-2 hrs of e-mails and such at your election). And the predictability is typically there. Biglaw associates don't travel, but if you're at a v5 I'd be shocked if you also aren't working long hours some weeks, and last minute get your weekends ruined.

Making partner is difficult in either field, but it's easier at MBB all things being equal. At McK, which I have more experience with, the rough rule of thumb is that 1/2 of associates make EM -> 1/2 EM makes AP -> 1/2 to 2/3 AP makes partner. That's somewhat around 1/8 of incoming associates. Just call it 1/10 to be conservative. That's still much better odds than most v5 nyc law firms. BUT, you have to keep in mind that roughly half the departures are completely voluntary since the exit options are amazing. After about a year or two at MBB, you're gonna have fantastic opportunties open to you, unlike in BigLaw where the opps are just smaller city, in-house legal, and the others that are typically a downgrade.

Finally, the people who say you work on insignificant projects as an associate at MBB have no idea what they're saying. Of course, you do have the occassional crappy project/client, no doubt about it. But these firms are top of the line and the first ones the CEOs call for the issues on their mind. You don't show up in the WSJ cause these are CONFIDENTIAL engagements - no CEO wants to admit publicly and blab to the world they brought in McK for help.


+2. I think you overstate the pay at McK a bit (I think it's dead even) but I think the general gist, which is that a job as an associate at McK is fantastic and certainly no worse than an associate at a V5 firm, is spot fucking on.

That said, I don't think consulting jobs involve less attention to detail than law jobs, it's just different detail. Have you ever thought deeply about Powerpoint? You will as a consultant.

IMO, whether to do the upper echelon of law or consulting is purely a matter of taste.

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:01 am

Question about the hiring process for consulting out of law school. I'm doing a 2L SA gig next summer but did a 1L SA gig and didn't really enjoy it, and expecting the same for next summer (hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but...). Debt isn't really much of an issue.


My UG major was essentially training for consulting, and I did an entire senior thesis that was Consulting Light, more or less. Enjoyed the hell out of it and considering applying during 2L summer/3L OCI. What do they look for? We had a guy from McK come and talk about it, but he didn't mention what they're looking for in hiring. Do grades matter at this point?

also FWIW i'm a pretty social creature and also fucking love powerpoint.

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby hellojd » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:Question about the hiring process for consulting out of law school. I'm doing a 2L SA gig next summer but did a 1L SA gig and didn't really enjoy it, and expecting the same for next summer (hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but...). Debt isn't really much of an issue.


My UG major was essentially training for consulting, and I did an entire senior thesis that was Consulting Light, more or less. Enjoyed the hell out of it and considering applying during 2L summer/3L OCI. What do they look for? We had a guy from McK come and talk about it, but he didn't mention what they're looking for in hiring. Do grades matter at this point?

also FWIW i'm a pretty social creature and also fucking love powerpoint.


From what I saw going through recruiting, they only look at t-14. Assuming you're over that hurdle, there's 3 rounds. I don't think getting your foot in the door for the first round is all too terribly difficult, given that there were several from my school that got the invite. I had good grades, but not spectacular ones by any means.

First round is a test to test problem solving ability. I think most pass this, 80% or so if I had to guess.

The last 2 rounds are where people get weeded out like crazy. It's 1/2 business case, 1/2 personal case, and they're weighted about equally. You need to do a lot of prep for both aspects. There's a lot of resources out there to help you out, especially with the business case - check out victor cheng as a starting point.

Also, apply to BCG as they hire law school students as well. Both are (just mathematically speaking) long shots, so don't bank on it. It's not like law firms where you have a decent idea where on the vault scale you're basically guaranteed a gig.

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:39 am

hellojd wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Question about the hiring process for consulting out of law school. I'm doing a 2L SA gig next summer but did a 1L SA gig and didn't really enjoy it, and expecting the same for next summer (hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but...). Debt isn't really much of an issue.


My UG major was essentially training for consulting, and I did an entire senior thesis that was Consulting Light, more or less. Enjoyed the hell out of it and considering applying during 2L summer/3L OCI. What do they look for? We had a guy from McK come and talk about it, but he didn't mention what they're looking for in hiring. Do grades matter at this point?

also FWIW i'm a pretty social creature and also fucking love powerpoint.


From what I saw going through recruiting, they only look at t-14. Assuming you're over that hurdle, there's 3 rounds. I don't think getting your foot in the door for the first round is all too terribly difficult, given that there were several from my school that got the invite. I had good grades, but not spectacular ones by any means.

First round is a test to test problem solving ability. I think most pass this, 80% or so if I had to guess.

The last 2 rounds are where people get weeded out like crazy. It's 1/2 business case, 1/2 personal case, and they're weighted about equally. You need to do a lot of prep for both aspects. There's a lot of resources out there to help you out, especially with the business case - check out victor cheng as a starting point.

Also, apply to BCG as they hire law school students as well. Both are (just mathematically speaking) long shots, so don't bank on it. It's not like law firms where you have a decent idea where on the vault scale you're basically guaranteed a gig.


Awesome, thank you for all the info! Planning on hunkering down this summer for the case study prep.

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:41 am

hellojd wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Question about the hiring process for consulting out of law school. I'm doing a 2L SA gig next summer but did a 1L SA gig and didn't really enjoy it, and expecting the same for next summer (hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but...). Debt isn't really much of an issue.


My UG major was essentially training for consulting, and I did an entire senior thesis that was Consulting Light, more or less. Enjoyed the hell out of it and considering applying during 2L summer/3L OCI. What do they look for? We had a guy from McK come and talk about it, but he didn't mention what they're looking for in hiring. Do grades matter at this point?

also FWIW i'm a pretty social creature and also fucking love powerpoint.


From what I saw going through recruiting, they only look at t-14. Assuming you're over that hurdle, there's 3 rounds. I don't think getting your foot in the door for the first round is all too terribly difficult, given that there were several from my school that got the invite. I had good grades, but not spectacular ones by any means.

First round is a test to test problem solving ability. I think most pass this, 80% or so if I had to guess.

The last 2 rounds are where people get weeded out like crazy. It's 1/2 business case, 1/2 personal case, and they're weighted about equally. You need to do a lot of prep for both aspects. There's a lot of resources out there to help you out, especially with the business case - check out victor cheng as a starting point.

Also, apply to BCG as they hire law school students as well. Both are (just mathematically speaking) long shots, so don't bank on it. It's not like law firms where you have a decent idea where on the vault scale you're basically guaranteed a gig.


Different anon here
I'm pretty set on consulting (if I can get it). I go to a top school and Mckinsey comes to our school. I'm a 2L and I'm not sure what I'd be doing this summer.

I missed interviewing with them this recruiting cycle. I plan on interviewing for a full-time position next year.

I was thinking about doing the JD/MBA at my school. Do you think I'd have the same shot as just doing the JD if I apply next year? Or would the MBA actually give a boost (since it's well, an MBA and I'd be interviewing for summer instead of fulltime). If so, how much of a boost would it give? Since MBB's hiring process is so interview-heavy, it seems like the extra degree won't matter much once I get my foot in the door.

Any advice? Thanks!

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby sparty99 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:Currently a second year at a top NYC law firm in the corporate department. Because of some of my work experience before law school, an opportunity to be a consultant/associate at one of MBB opened up to me. I know little about consulting other than it tends to look at the big picture. It was something I never thought much about. I like the work I am doing at my firm, but sometimes focusing on the minutia seems like I may come to not like the work. Anyone have any first hand knowledge on consulting? From my research the hours are long, much like Big Law. The hours also involve traveling. But all nighters seem less likely than Big Law, at least from my research. Any personal experiences would be awesome, including salaries. TYIA


I did consulting pre-law school at one of those firms that is consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 firms by Vault and Consulting Magazine. I thought it was HIGHLY OVERRATED. You will travel usually Monday through Thursday, maybe Friday. On a rare project, you'll fly out on Sunday just so you don't have to catch that 6:00 am flight. The travel does get old fast, but playing the frequent flyer game/hotel points can be fun. Especially when you have enough miles for free vacations. Also, the corporate account is nice. You eat like a king every fucking day.

In terms of the work, I thought it sucked. You stare at MS Excel, Access, and PowerPoint all day. It is not necessairly "big picture." It is very detailed oriented. You will be working with numbers so you will have to make your financial models are on point. That the commas are in the right place. You will be re-drafting powerpoint after powerpoint. Just as you make stupid changes to contracts right now. The hours in consulting are probably better than big law. In consulting you have billable hour (utilization requirements). You don't have to write down everything like a lawyer, but the end game is to be on projects.

The exit options out of MBB are tremendous. Especially if you went to Harvard, Stanford, etc. You will have gained very good financial modeling skills and can get an internal corporate strategy/development gig at a Fortune 500. Also, at MBB there might be international opportunities if that is what you want.

I don't know what the salary will be like at MBB. But in general, consultants make a sexy salary. Managers make at least six figures at most consulting firms. Probably $150+ at most. Partners are $200k to $1M. At my firm, 10% of people made partners when they started out of undergrad. Usually took 7 to 10 years. A lot of people enjoy consulting. My past co-workers are Senior Managers now and seeing the condos they buy, I know they are doing good financially.

In the end, I didn't think consulting was very glamarous. I hated the quantitative aspect of the job. However, since you do corporate law perhaps you might enjoy another desk job. Because at the end of the day, that's how they are the same.

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:22 am

The following is only in reference to MBB, where I currently work.

Both suck. Both are tedious. Both have shit hours. Both pay well. Consulting has way less job security and way more early on responsibility. For example, imagine being solely responsible for assessing an acquisition target's BU revenues for the next 5 yrs - we're talking hundreds of millions/yr, with little oversight into how you got to your number. Also, way more travel, which sucks balls, no matter what they tell you. It's rarely to places you want to go and it chews into your available hours for work.

Consulting can have a much wider variety of exit options.

People at MBB start getting fired at 1 yr in, so if you have a lot of law school debt you're taking a big risk. Also, you probably won't be a strong performer. You're competing against many people who essentially did the same job, took a couple years off to get an MBA and are now back and in the same role you are. Imagine being a first year associate and getting evaluated in comparison to a 5th year associate. You see the difficulty.

I would estimate partnership odds at 5%, and their lifestyle still sucks ( I get emails at all hours).

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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby igo2northwestern » Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:49 am

hellojd wrote:There's so much faulty info in this thread that I don't know where to start. Not posting anonymously so OP feel free to msg me, unlike a lot of those here I've been at / will be at MBB and a v5.

Pay is higher ACROSS the BOARD in MBB after you factor in bonus and retirement contributions, and gets progressively more lopsided. If you get promoted to EM at McK (typcially two years after you come in as associate, give or take 6 months) you're clearing at least 250 on the low end. Two years later at AP? 400 on the low end. I can't think of too many non-WLRK where you're making that as a 4th year associate in Big Law.

Exit opportunity comparisons are stupid, they are completely different. If you do MBB, you will have fantastic, and I mean AMAZING business opportunities available to you. If you do a v5, then you have legal exit ops, and theres been discussion regarding that ad nauseum on this forum so I won't go into that.

I don't really get QOL comparisons either, I'm not sure either is better really just different. yes, you will travel at MBB and work hard at the client site. but You typically get your fri nights and weekends completely off (maybe 1-2 hrs of e-mails and such at your election). And the predictability is typically there. Biglaw associates don't travel, but if you're at a v5 I'd be shocked if you also aren't working long hours some weeks, and last minute get your weekends ruined.

Making partner is difficult in either field, but it's easier at MBB all things being equal. At McK, which I have more experience with, the rough rule of thumb is that 1/2 of associates make EM -> 1/2 EM makes AP -> 1/2 to 2/3 AP makes partner. That's somewhat around 1/8 of incoming associates. Just call it 1/10 to be conservative. That's still much better odds than most v5 nyc law firms. BUT, you have to keep in mind that roughly half the departures are completely voluntary since the exit options are amazing. After about a year or two at MBB, you're gonna have fantastic opportunties open to you, unlike in BigLaw where the opps are just smaller city, in-house legal, and the others that are typically a downgrade.

Finally, the people who say you work on insignificant projects as an associate at MBB have no idea what they're saying. Of course, you do have the occassional crappy project/client, no doubt about it. But these firms are top of the line and the first ones the CEOs call for the issues on their mind. You don't show up in the WSJ cause these are CONFIDENTIAL engagements - no CEO wants to admit publicly and blab to the world they brought in McK for help.

This is a bit overstated IMO -- pay as an EM + is higher, but earlier on, it's about the same if not worse because of the chances of being laid off (this last bit is really worth mentioning to fully inform someone debating b/w the two). Still, consulting wins on the compensation side because of the legal in-house pay cut. In the long run, MBB on average wins out substantially.

Re: QOL, "You typically get your fri nights and weekends completely off" is a bit misleading. It's not infrequent that you work Saturdays, and there are many days where you get on a plane late Sunday/very early Monday morning. Also, I think the hours are more consistently worse during the work week. Think early morning wake-up + late night bed times, always.

The traveling makes a Huge difference guys. This lifestyle change is for many people unsustainable, so think hard before making this decision.

Re: partnership prospects, I really have no idea. I get the sense that it's very slim on both sides, and there's no doubt a lot of voluntary attrition in both Biglaw and consulting.

Re: projects, whether you are consistently on a "good client" depends in part on availability + how you stack up among your peers. If you're a star associate, the chances are much better that you consistently have great clients. But even great associates get stuck in a podunk city in rando state for Many Months, and it seriously really sucks and you're tired of eating at the single semi-decent-but-not-really diner every day.

There's obviously much more salt in my post, but more so to balance some of the things that were said. At the end of the day, I think someone choosing consulting would be attracted to an entirely different line of work + higher compensation, and someone choosing law would like law because it's law + be satisfied with (let's be real) pretty good compensation + no travel.

WhirledWorld
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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby WhirledWorld » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:32 pm

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Last edited by WhirledWorld on Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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lhanvt13
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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby lhanvt13 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
hellojd wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Question about the hiring process for consulting out of law school. I'm doing a 2L SA gig next summer but did a 1L SA gig and didn't really enjoy it, and expecting the same for next summer (hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but...). Debt isn't really much of an issue.


My UG major was essentially training for consulting, and I did an entire senior thesis that was Consulting Light, more or less. Enjoyed the hell out of it and considering applying during 2L summer/3L OCI. What do they look for? We had a guy from McK come and talk about it, but he didn't mention what they're looking for in hiring. Do grades matter at this point?

also FWIW i'm a pretty social creature and also fucking love powerpoint.


From what I saw going through recruiting, they only look at t-14. Assuming you're over that hurdle, there's 3 rounds. I don't think getting your foot in the door for the first round is all too terribly difficult, given that there were several from my school that got the invite. I had good grades, but not spectacular ones by any means.

First round is a test to test problem solving ability. I think most pass this, 80% or so if I had to guess.

The last 2 rounds are where people get weeded out like crazy. It's 1/2 business case, 1/2 personal case, and they're weighted about equally. You need to do a lot of prep for both aspects. There's a lot of resources out there to help you out, especially with the business case - check out victor cheng as a starting point.

Also, apply to BCG as they hire law school students as well. Both are (just mathematically speaking) long shots, so don't bank on it. It's not like law firms where you have a decent idea where on the vault scale you're basically guaranteed a gig.


Different anon here
I'm pretty set on consulting (if I can get it). I go to a top school and Mckinsey comes to our school. I'm a 2L and I'm not sure what I'd be doing this summer.

I missed interviewing with them this recruiting cycle. I plan on interviewing for a full-time position next year.

I was thinking about doing the JD/MBA at my school. Do you think I'd have the same shot as just doing the JD if I apply next year? Or would the MBA actually give a boost (since it's well, an MBA and I'd be interviewing for summer instead of fulltime). If so, how much of a boost would it give? Since MBB's hiring process is so interview-heavy, it seems like the extra degree won't matter much once I get my foot in the door.

Any advice? Thanks!

As for the first point, some of them have winter recruitment cycles

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hellojd
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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby hellojd » Fri Nov 28, 2014 5:11 pm

igo2northwestern wrote:
hellojd wrote:There's so much faulty info in this thread that I don't know where to start. Not posting anonymously so OP feel free to msg me, unlike a lot of those here I've been at / will be at MBB and a v5.

Pay is higher ACROSS the BOARD in MBB after you factor in bonus and retirement contributions, and gets progressively more lopsided. If you get promoted to EM at McK (typcially two years after you come in as associate, give or take 6 months) you're clearing at least 250 on the low end. Two years later at AP? 400 on the low end. I can't think of too many non-WLRK where you're making that as a 4th year associate in Big Law.

Exit opportunity comparisons are stupid, they are completely different. If you do MBB, you will have fantastic, and I mean AMAZING business opportunities available to you. If you do a v5, then you have legal exit ops, and theres been discussion regarding that ad nauseum on this forum so I won't go into that.

I don't really get QOL comparisons either, I'm not sure either is better really just different. yes, you will travel at MBB and work hard at the client site. but You typically get your fri nights and weekends completely off (maybe 1-2 hrs of e-mails and such at your election). And the predictability is typically there. Biglaw associates don't travel, but if you're at a v5 I'd be shocked if you also aren't working long hours some weeks, and last minute get your weekends ruined.

Making partner is difficult in either field, but it's easier at MBB all things being equal. At McK, which I have more experience with, the rough rule of thumb is that 1/2 of associates make EM -> 1/2 EM makes AP -> 1/2 to 2/3 AP makes partner. That's somewhat around 1/8 of incoming associates. Just call it 1/10 to be conservative. That's still much better odds than most v5 nyc law firms. BUT, you have to keep in mind that roughly half the departures are completely voluntary since the exit options are amazing. After about a year or two at MBB, you're gonna have fantastic opportunties open to you, unlike in BigLaw where the opps are just smaller city, in-house legal, and the others that are typically a downgrade.

Finally, the people who say you work on insignificant projects as an associate at MBB have no idea what they're saying. Of course, you do have the occassional crappy project/client, no doubt about it. But these firms are top of the line and the first ones the CEOs call for the issues on their mind. You don't show up in the WSJ cause these are CONFIDENTIAL engagements - no CEO wants to admit publicly and blab to the world they brought in McK for help.

This is a bit overstated IMO -- pay as an EM + is higher, but earlier on, it's about the same if not worse because of the chances of being laid off (this last bit is really worth mentioning to fully inform someone debating b/w the two). Still, consulting wins on the compensation side because of the legal in-house pay cut. In the long run, MBB on average wins out substantially.

Re: QOL, "You typically get your fri nights and weekends completely off" is a bit misleading. It's not infrequent that you work Saturdays, and there are many days where you get on a plane late Sunday/very early Monday morning. Also, I think the hours are more consistently worse during the work week. Think early morning wake-up + late night bed times, always.

The traveling makes a Huge difference guys. This lifestyle change is for many people unsustainable, so think hard before making this decision.

Re: partnership prospects, I really have no idea. I get the sense that it's very slim on both sides, and there's no doubt a lot of voluntary attrition in both Biglaw and consulting.

Re: projects, whether you are consistently on a "good client" depends in part on availability + how you stack up among your peers. If you're a star associate, the chances are much better that you consistently have great clients. But even great associates get stuck in a podunk city in rando state for Many Months, and it seriously really sucks and you're tired of eating at the single semi-decent-but-not-really diner every day.

There's obviously much more salt in my post, but more so to balance some of the things that were said. At the end of the day, I think someone choosing consulting would be attracted to an entirely different line of work + higher compensation, and someone choosing law would like law because it's law + be satisfied with (let's be real) pretty good compensation + no travel.


Fair points, along with the other poster who said I may have overstated comp a bit (I still do think that it's higher at MBB - keep in mind these firms put a free 10-15% of your salary into a retirement fund without you lifting a finger, which is a big plus). Of course, bonuses are also discretionary unlike most of the better NYC firms, so there is a risk there along with overall higher job security risk. I think you have average out this post and mine you have an idea of what you're getting into.

To OP, if you're already at a top NYC firm, you're basically choosing from the top of of both fields. Go with whatever interests you. You're actually in a great position, because you have a realistic assessment of what law firm life is like already which I admittedly don't have as much experience with.

The pros (pay, work that will make you learn a ton, exit options into their respective fields) and cons (hours, travel for consulting vs. unpredictability for biglaw) apply to both as others say, just a question of if you prefer chocolate or vanilla IMHO.

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hellojd
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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby hellojd » Fri Nov 28, 2014 5:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
hellojd wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Question about the hiring process for consulting out of law school. I'm doing a 2L SA gig next summer but did a 1L SA gig and didn't really enjoy it, and expecting the same for next summer (hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but...). Debt isn't really much of an issue.


My UG major was essentially training for consulting, and I did an entire senior thesis that was Consulting Light, more or less. Enjoyed the hell out of it and considering applying during 2L summer/3L OCI. What do they look for? We had a guy from McK come and talk about it, but he didn't mention what they're looking for in hiring. Do grades matter at this point?

also FWIW i'm a pretty social creature and also fucking love powerpoint.


From what I saw going through recruiting, they only look at t-14. Assuming you're over that hurdle, there's 3 rounds. I don't think getting your foot in the door for the first round is all too terribly difficult, given that there were several from my school that got the invite. I had good grades, but not spectacular ones by any means.

First round is a test to test problem solving ability. I think most pass this, 80% or so if I had to guess.

The last 2 rounds are where people get weeded out like crazy. It's 1/2 business case, 1/2 personal case, and they're weighted about equally. You need to do a lot of prep for both aspects. There's a lot of resources out there to help you out, especially with the business case - check out victor cheng as a starting point.

Also, apply to BCG as they hire law school students as well. Both are (just mathematically speaking) long shots, so don't bank on it. It's not like law firms where you have a decent idea where on the vault scale you're basically guaranteed a gig.


Different anon here
I'm pretty set on consulting (if I can get it). I go to a top school and Mckinsey comes to our school. I'm a 2L and I'm not sure what I'd be doing this summer.

I missed interviewing with them this recruiting cycle. I plan on interviewing for a full-time position next year.

I was thinking about doing the JD/MBA at my school. Do you think I'd have the same shot as just doing the JD if I apply next year? Or would the MBA actually give a boost (since it's well, an MBA and I'd be interviewing for summer instead of fulltime). If so, how much of a boost would it give? Since MBB's hiring process is so interview-heavy, it seems like the extra degree won't matter much once I get my foot in the door.

Any advice? Thanks!


I think your analysis is spot - on; I don't think the MBA will help particularly. In fact, if you're a dual degree you will be in direct competition with the other MBAs - I was comforted a little at least by the fact that I was compared to APD's (jds, phds, mds, etc.) that hadn't gone through boot camp for consulting gigs. Of course, this may have been placebo effect b/c I don't think any of the firms lower their standards for anyone, but still.

Do the MBA if you want the MBA - do NOT do it to increase your chances at MBB, because A) I don't think it'll work, B) you're basically going for 3 ultra-selective firms that plenty of people from HBS, Wharton, etc. are falling over themselves for, and its just too much of a crapshoot to validate an extra year of school if that's the only reason.

Anonymous User
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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 28, 2014 5:53 pm

lhanvt13 wrote:As for the first point, some of them have winter recruitment cycles


What's the time line like for that? This is for summer or for winter programs (I know some firms have winter associates).
Do you know which firms have this?

Thanks

NEdelton1987
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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby NEdelton1987 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:21 pm

WhirledWorld wrote:People here seem pretty clueless on in-house legal jobs. Most of the people I know who went in-house took a pay raise. I know several whose in-house salary was more than double their biglaw salary. I also know a guy who was paid over $1 million in total comp just for signing on (one-off case for a midlevel who became GC at a smaller company, but still).

MBB consultants go do in-house strategy, just like V5 corporate biglaw associates go do in-house legal. Neither are going into finance or operations or whatever unless they had a background doing that before (and even then, it's rare).

Also, +1 to the job security thing. Very few people are forced out of biglaw. MBB churns associates and EM's like crazy, even not counting the firing squad every two years.


I find the lack of information on in-house jobs here on tls surprising. What's the all-in comp range for more typical in-house jobs? For instance, what's the all-in comp for top in-house jobs (ones at Goldman/JPM that 4th years at S&C/Cravath are leaving for), what's the all-in comp for more average in-house jobs that most V20 corp associates leave for, etc.

JVK
Posts: 102
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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby JVK » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:02 am

WhirledWorld wrote:People here seem pretty clueless on in-house legal jobs. Most of the people I know who went in-house took a pay raise. I know several whose in-house salary was more than double their biglaw salary. I also know a guy who was paid over $1 million in total comp just for signing on (one-off case for a midlevel who became GC at a smaller company, but still).

MBB consultants go do in-house strategy, just like V5 corporate biglaw associates go do in-house legal. Neither are going into finance or operations or whatever unless they had a background doing that before (and even then, it's rare).

Also, +1 to the job security thing. Very few people are forced out of biglaw. MBB churns associates and EM's like crazy, even not counting the firing squad every two years.


If you don't mind my asking, what sort of in-house jobs are the ones paying double big-law salary? Are these at banks or other financial institutions (and do they specialize at all once there, I know those have enormous legal teams), or higher up in smaller corporations?

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thelawyler
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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby thelawyler » Sat Nov 29, 2014 4:22 pm

JVK wrote:
WhirledWorld wrote:People here seem pretty clueless on in-house legal jobs. Most of the people I know who went in-house took a pay raise. I know several whose in-house salary was more than double their biglaw salary. I also know a guy who was paid over $1 million in total comp just for signing on (one-off case for a midlevel who became GC at a smaller company, but still).

MBB consultants go do in-house strategy, just like V5 corporate biglaw associates go do in-house legal. Neither are going into finance or operations or whatever unless they had a background doing that before (and even then, it's rare).

Also, +1 to the job security thing. Very few people are forced out of biglaw. MBB churns associates and EM's like crazy, even not counting the firing squad every two years.


If you don't mind my asking, what sort of in-house jobs are the ones paying double big-law salary? Are these at banks or other financial institutions (and do they specialize at all once there, I know those have enormous legal teams), or higher up in smaller corporations?


Interested in this as well.

Anonymous User
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Re: Law v. Consulting

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:54 pm

To clear up some misinformation in this thread: I worked at a V10 consulting firm pre-law school and I worked about 1/3 of weekends (I calculated this using the company's time & expense software before I quit). By "worked weekends" I mean that I was required to be in the office on a Saturday and/or Sunday for at least 6 hours per day. We would be told on Friday whether weekend work was required. This meant that travelers wouldn't go home many weekends. I am still a law student so I have no clue whether this level of weekend work is better or worse than biglaw.

The other thing is that consulting is HUGELY variable - even within one firm. I had friends in the firm (who were staffed with different clients than I was) who worked 9-5PM M-F and never traveled. I had friends who traveled M-T and worked 8-6, friends who traveled M-Saturday and worked 8-11PM, friends who traveled one week and didn't travel the next, etc. etc. There is simply NO way to predict what boat you will be in.

BTW, don't think you will escape billable hours. I had to bill time in 15 minute increments.

Associate churn at MBB shouldn't really scare you. You will constantly be recruited by other consulting firms and by companies if you work at a consulting firm. Trust me, if you have even 6 months at MBB on your resume, you will never be unemployed in your life.

2 things that haven't yet been mentioned that I think are important to consider:

1) Project management is a huge part of being a consultant. My understanding is that biglaw associates do almost none of this. Everything thinks they want to manage people and workflows but in reality it is NOT as fun or glamorous as it sounds. Keeping track of people, deliverables, and reports over the course of a months-long client engagement is like herding cats. Being a successful biglaw associate takes organizational and tracking skills, of course, in the sense that you have to stay on top of your assignments, but it's nowhere close to consulting.

2) If you are currently at a biglaw firm, do not accept an associate level position at MBB. You should at the very least be hired at consultant, if not manager. The reason I say this is that advancement at a consulting firm is hard, so it would help if you got hired at an advanced level rather than coming in low and having to work your way up. It takes a lot of networking and people skills to advance in consulting - I'm sure you are great, but generally biglaw folks can't compete with consulting folks at this stuff. (Compare the average law student personality to the average MBA personality.) You're going to be at a disadvantage because you'll be competing with people for promotions who have come up through the consulting firm, whereas you'll be an outsider struggling to catch up.




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