Advice on Leaving the Law

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Hikikomorist » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:57 pm

Probably some fairly decent positive correlations, like between most cognitive tasks.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:27 pm

Lincoln wrote:Buddy of mine who was in corporate studied quant stuff after work and on weekends with this place: http://pillarsofwallstreet.com/. He eventually landed a gig as an associate at a top investment bank. I have no idea if that's typical, but it worked for him.


Thanks!

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:29 pm

OP here. Did an interview for an ib associate role yesterday (applied last Wednesday). Got shut down pretty hard. Said they need someone to hit the desk running as their prior associate left (to where I didn't ask). This journey is going to be fun.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:44 pm

Don't want to hijack the thread but wanted to tap into TLS collective wisdom for some non-legal options ideas for someone who is a transactional associate (think cap markets/banking) but has essentially zero quant skills. What have you seen similarly situated people leave for? Is renting a halal cart going to be my best option?

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:59 pm

Law student going into consulting next year. @OP, spoke to a lot of people who made the switch from biglaw into consulting (usually after 2-3 years, but spoke to people with 5 years) and heard all positive things (from an admittedly biased sample). The switch becomes harder with time because you go in at the post-MBA level so the pay/seniority cut can get real. Obviously it opens a whole new range of career options if you stay a couple years to manager.

If you spend some time networking and getting an internal referral you should be able to get interviews (at McK for sure and maybe BCG. Bain hires less lawyers but recruiting told me they are trying to increase their JD #'s.) The biggest thing is finding time to case prep while grinding.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Did an interview for an ib associate role yesterday (applied last Wednesday). Got shut down pretty hard. Said they need someone to hit the desk running as their prior associate left (to where I didn't ask). This journey is going to be fun.


I can't imagine that you'll want to do IB. Besides the close overlap between a IB associate and M&A biglaw associate, you'll lose all your seniority or close to it, only to face the same class 50% attrition rate in 2 years. And, yes, going to b-school to get that job would be an even more terrible idea.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:36 pm

I can understand why someone would want to go to MBB from law, but I just can't imagine going into banking. Talk about another soul sucking job. I thought about trying to make the switch but when a friend of mine that did told me the hours were worse I said screw it, life is too short to move from shit job to shit job

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:15 pm

elendinel wrote:
You misunderstand my comparison. I was saying that arguing that good LSAT score = good programming acumen is as logical as arguing that good LSAT score = talent for high-level mathematics. Which is a reasonable comparison, considering CS is heavily based on math, and because both math and CS require different skills and different logical reasoning than law. For sure there are people who are good at both, but that's because they can think in both modes, and not because being good at making legal arguments or LSAT logic games makes you a good mathematician/a good coder, or vice-versa. Plenty of good engineers can't get good scores on the LSAT, and vice-versa. It is illogical to think that a perfect LSAT score directly indicates anything about a person's ability to understand scientific concepts (which you do need to understand to write good code/to work on projects that aren't completely mind-numbing), or vice-versa.

The idea that someone from a bad law school would be bad at programming is illogical for much the same reasons.


Yeah, so this pretty much confirms my suspicion. You really don't know what you're talking about. The ability to program is completely and totally different than high level mathematics. They are not even remotely similar. I also didn't say good LSAT score = good programming abilities. I said good LSAT + T6 law school + everything that implies = good programming acumen (essentially, high intelligence = ability to program). Those are two very different things.

At the core, programming logic and logic needed for analysis arguments/games/etc are the same. They both follow the same rules/regulations (except computers execute it perfectly, whereas humans fail from time to time). You are correct though - a perfect LSAT score does not indicate the ability to solve PhD level scientific problems. Where you are wrong is in the assertion that you must be able to solve/understand scientific things at that level to have a 'good' computing job. That is just an opinion.

But I'll leave it at that. At the end of the day, I'm a master's-holding engineer that is investigating law, and I can say (since I've got my foot in both of them now), the logical skills needed to succeed at my job are almost identical to the logical skills for analyzing the LSAT (which was my initial assertion).

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I can't imagine that you'll want to do IB. Besides the close overlap between a IB associate and M&A biglaw associate, you'll lose all your seniority or close to it, only to face the same class 50% attrition rate in 2 years. And, yes, going to b-school to get that job would be an even more terrible idea.


OP here. I am aware I will lose my seniority and I am fine with it. Okay with the pay cut as well. Really just don't want to practice law anymore but would like to avoid manual labor.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I can understand why someone would want to go to MBB from law, but I just can't imagine going into banking. Talk about another soul sucking job. I thought about trying to make the switch but when a friend of mine that did told me the hours were worse I said screw it, life is too short to move from shit job to shit job


MBB would be a dream (struck out third round at one 3L year) but I don't know any MBB folks now and I may be a bit old. I do know a decent amount of bankers and there are a ton of great/good/okay banks here in NYC to work at (24/7) and retool while there are only the 3 top tier consulting firms.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I can understand why someone would want to go to MBB from law, but I just can't imagine going into banking. Talk about another soul sucking job. I thought about trying to make the switch but when a friend of mine that did told me the hours were worse I said screw it, life is too short to move from shit job to shit job


FWIW, I'm law school -> banking and love it so far. Compensation is noticeably better, of course, but what really matters for me is just a way better office culture, more interesting exit options (very hard to jump to investing, but most other corp dev and traditional "business" jobs are open), existence of analysts who are there specifically to do your grunt work, and you're much more central in the deal process.

That said, I'd agree that IB in the best case is more like-law-but-better as opposed to truly-different-from-law. For sure you'll still have your share of long hours and unreasonable clients.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I can understand why someone would want to go to MBB from law, but I just can't imagine going into banking. Talk about another soul sucking job. I thought about trying to make the switch but when a friend of mine that did told me the hours were worse I said screw it, life is too short to move from shit job to shit job


FWIW, I'm law school -> banking and love it so far. Compensation is noticeably better, of course,


What is the "noticeably better" comp ballpark like?

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I can understand why someone would want to go to MBB from law, but I just can't imagine going into banking. Talk about another soul sucking job. I thought about trying to make the switch but when a friend of mine that did told me the hours were worse I said screw it, life is too short to move from shit job to shit job


FWIW, I'm law school -> banking and love it so far. Compensation is noticeably better, of course,


What is the "noticeably better" comp ballpark like?


Let's call it,

Stub (Y0): 125k base + 40k bonus
Y1: 250k all-in
Y2: 300k all-in

But there's a lot of variability--there's nothing close to resembling Cravath scale. And compensation (in the bonus component) has been trending downward.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:00 pm

OP, I sort of made the transition you are talking about. Start at the top of this page for some color on my posts:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=258538&start=200

From reading this thread, here are a few random thoughts:

*Target boutique/middle market institutions. Especially if your experience is weighted towards any particular sector. Boutique financial institutions thrive by focusing on specific industries. Financial advisory firms that have a strong restructuring practice really seem to value legal experience. If you can, leave NYC.

*I run my own group that covers a specific sector(6 total FTEs). I lead deals well into the high 9 figures. I'm still executing someone else's vision until I'm at the top of the pyramid (if I ever get there). My point is that you're going to continue to feel like you lack control. Especially until you prove yourself in your new role as your colleagues will be skeptical of the lawyer trying to play business person.

*Like anything else, being on the business side has its good parts and bad parts relative to big law. While the good parts make it worth it to me, I won't deny that there are some things about firm life that were better. I know multiple big law associates that went back to big law after breaking into the financial side (including big law ---> PE business role ---> big law).

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I can understand why someone would want to go to MBB from law, but I just can't imagine going into banking. Talk about another soul sucking job. I thought about trying to make the switch but when a friend of mine that did told me the hours were worse I said screw it, life is too short to move from shit job to shit job


FWIW, I'm law school -> banking and love it so far. Compensation is noticeably better, of course, but what really matters for me is just a way better office culture, more interesting exit options (very hard to jump to investing, but most other corp dev and traditional "business" jobs are open), existence of analysts who are there specifically to do your grunt work, and you're much more central in the deal process.

That said, I'd agree that IB in the best case is more like-law-but-better as opposed to truly-different-from-law. For sure you'll still have your share of long hours and unreasonable clients.


I'm not saying that doing banking right our of law school is a bad call, in fact, I'm sure its way better than big law (just on exit opps and comp alone). I just can't imagine going from a law firm after years of doing this shit and working these hours and then switching to banking for another few years of abuse and insane hours. I have a few friends that made the switch in years 2/3 and they don't regret it, but they are just grinders or unbelievably ambitious. I thought about trying to make the switch until I heard what their hours were like and figured putting that kind of leg work in to hate a different job and have more miserable hours just doesn't seem worth it. But then again, I day dream about being able to work 9-5 for 80K, so I'm probably not the best person to ask.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby elendinel » Fri Mar 10, 2017 3:27 am

mrgstephe wrote:Yeah, so this pretty much confirms my suspicion. You really don't know what you're talking about. The ability to program is completely and totally different than high level mathematics. They are not even remotely similar. I also didn't say good LSAT score = good programming abilities. I said good LSAT + T6 law school + everything that implies = good programming acumen (essentially, high intelligence = ability to program). Those are two very different things.

At the core, programming logic and logic needed for analysis arguments/games/etc are the same. They both follow the same rules/regulations (except computers execute it perfectly, whereas humans fail from time to time). You are correct though - a perfect LSAT score does not indicate the ability to solve PhD level scientific problems. Where you are wrong is in the assertion that you must be able to solve/understand scientific things at that level to have a 'good' computing job. That is just an opinion.

But I'll leave it at that. At the end of the day, I'm a master's-holding engineer that is investigating law, and I can say (since I've got my foot in both of them now), the logical skills needed to succeed at my job are almost identical to the logical skills for analyzing the LSAT (which was my initial assertion).


I have worked in both SWE and law, and haven't just "investigated" one and done "a task" in another.

I am not actually saying you need to be an expert in PhD math to be a programmer. Just that it is just as illogical to assume someone will be able to pick up programming quickly based on their LSAT score, as it would be to assume that a good LSAT means they'll also pick up high-level math pretty quickly.

And of course programming skills and math skills are related. Programming was created by, and still greatly relies on, mathematical theory. You can't optimize your code well if you don't understand how it works, and you can't really understand how it works if you can't understand the mathematics/algorithms that go into what your code, specifically, is doing. For sure, someone can string together code to make a UI or can throw simple scripts on top of someone else's API/tools without any mathematical (or, really, programming) talent whatsoever, but such a person isn't going to be able to do a whole lot else without an ability to grasp mathematical theory beyond calculus when the need inevitably arises. A lot of people tend to overestimate how well they code because they forget that optimization/being able to understand complex algorithms and how they work, regardless of the programming language, is just as important as writing something that doesn't crash and knowing the basics of what a hash table is. It hinders them in the long run, unless they have that theoretical basis, or an ability to get there. LSAT doesn't tell you that either

Bottom-line (to return to my actual point): it's silly to tell someone that their getting a high LSAT score and being in biglaw means they can just spend a few weeks on Google or a few months in bootcamp to get a well-paying tech job with nice benefits, with literally no other information about the person to go on. But I don't want to derail this thread any further by talking about an option OP doesn't seem to have any interest in pursuing, anyway.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby juzam_djinn » Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:46 am

elendinel wrote:
mrgstephe wrote:Yeah, so this pretty much confirms my suspicion. You really don't know what you're talking about. The ability to program is completely and totally different than high level mathematics. They are not even remotely similar. I also didn't say good LSAT score = good programming abilities. I said good LSAT + T6 law school + everything that implies = good programming acumen (essentially, high intelligence = ability to program). Those are two very different things.

At the core, programming logic and logic needed for analysis arguments/games/etc are the same. They both follow the same rules/regulations (except computers execute it perfectly, whereas humans fail from time to time). You are correct though - a perfect LSAT score does not indicate the ability to solve PhD level scientific problems. Where you are wrong is in the assertion that you must be able to solve/understand scientific things at that level to have a 'good' computing job. That is just an opinion.

But I'll leave it at that. At the end of the day, I'm a master's-holding engineer that is investigating law, and I can say (since I've got my foot in both of them now), the logical skills needed to succeed at my job are almost identical to the logical skills for analyzing the LSAT (which was my initial assertion).


I have worked in both SWE and law, and haven't just "investigated" one and done "a task" in another.

I am not actually saying you need to be an expert in PhD math to be a programmer. Just that it is just as illogical to assume someone will be able to pick up programming quickly based on their LSAT score, as it would be to assume that a good LSAT means they'll also pick up high-level math pretty quickly.

And of course programming skills and math skills are related. Programming was created by, and still greatly relies on, mathematical theory. You can't optimize your code well if you don't understand how it works, and you can't really understand how it works if you can't understand the mathematics/algorithms that go into what your code, specifically, is doing. For sure, someone can string together code to make a UI or can throw simple scripts on top of someone else's API/tools without any mathematical (or, really, programming) talent whatsoever, but such a person isn't going to be able to do a whole lot else without an ability to grasp mathematical theory beyond calculus when the need inevitably arises. A lot of people tend to overestimate how well they code because they forget that optimization/being able to understand complex algorithms and how they work, regardless of the programming language, is just as important as writing something that doesn't crash and knowing the basics of what a hash table is. It hinders them in the long run, unless they have that theoretical basis, or an ability to get there. LSAT doesn't tell you that either

Bottom-line (to return to my actual point): it's silly to tell someone that their getting a high LSAT score and being in biglaw means they can just spend a few weeks on Google or a few months in bootcamp to get a well-paying tech job with nice benefits, with literally no other information about the person to go on. But I don't want to derail this thread any further by talking about an option OP doesn't seem to have any interest in pursuing, anyway.


i think at this point me and the other guy just have to agree to disagree with you, friend. like i said earlier, I've seen nearly a dozen people (many of whom barely cracked 90th percentile lsats and gres) go and spend close to a year in an intense bootcamp and end up at Microsoft, FB, Amazon, Hulu, etc. Sure they're not on the sexiest product team when they arrive, but they're still making good salary at reputable companies. And yeah, standardized tests aren't perfect proxies for coding ability, but they're not half bad (especially the lsat if you can crack a 175+ without having to prep for a year or more...)

and sorry for derailing even more. I know OP's not interested in this work, but I don't want people to overestimate how difficult it is to switch to programming if they're willing to put in the hard work up front.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Genius » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:Can you tell us more about what makes you hate law?


This plz op.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:52 am

Genius wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can you tell us more about what makes you hate law?

This plz op.


OP here. I have a few reasons. All of them are flawed, but I am okay with that.

(1) Career Trajectory - If I am putting in 16 hours a day for 20 years, I don't just want the money I want to be able to make decisions. While big time partners, and I have seen a few, get to coach and guide their executive clients, their client is one who makes the decisions. Most lawyers I know find never having to make a decision to be the best part of the job, to me it is frustrating.

(2) Impact - The financials drive the deal, we simply paper it. I want to be closer to the drivers seat (maybe have a chance to be in it) and also better understand the numbers that the principles rely on to make decisions.

(3) In-house Role - As an in-house lawyer I would be a cost center, with no real way to show my value to the firm ("Hey, remember that awesome NDA I whipped up?") but at least the business guys internally have a number, however skewed or unattributable, to point to to justify their salary.

I could be crazy, I could be dreaming, maybe I am just a whinny millennial but I get one shot at this whole life/career thing, I might as well try to do what I want.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:18 am

Thanks for that. Do you hate the day-to-day life? Or is it mostly long-term concerns that pushing you to get out?

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for that. Do you hate the day-to-day life? Or is it mostly long-term concerns that pushing you to get out?

The day to day grind is not easy, but I understand why it needs to be done and have done it for 5 years. It becomes much harder to do the grind when you realize there is no point, beyond the paycheck, to do it. I am not looking to leave the law to make my work day shorter. I just want to try to develop new skills and build toward a different future.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby BernieTrump » Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:19 pm

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Last edited by BernieTrump on Thu May 11, 2017 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:16 pm

BernieTrump wrote:Nonetheless, it's a very, very hard switch, and it fails far more often than it succeeds. If you can make it, congrats. I've failed, and looks like I'll need to be a lawyer for life.

Either way, pay it forward and dropkick the next 19 year old you hear blabbing about "doing anything with a law degree".


(OP) Very true. Every time I see a LinkedIn announcement of someone making the move I feel both jealous and hopeful.

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:59 pm

Previous poster who went straight from a firm to a business role as an MD here. From reading your subsequent posts, I don't think you're going to find autonomy and responsibility in IB for a long time (unless you can go in running your group). I think you'll find that after the newness wears off you'll be in a similar position of doing the same rote work for your superiors while only changing minor details deal to deal.

To get in to positions of responsibility you need to go to lean, smaller outfits where everybody has to carry a heavy load or you need to go in at the top of any particular business group.

From your description of what you want and with your M&A background, I would consider looking for smaller PE portfolio companies (they naturally run lean), smaller to mid size PE shops (best lawyer job I ever saw was a lawyer who was basically the consigliere to the investment committee of a PE firm with about $5bn AUM at any given time), smaller to mid-size family offices (your M&A background will be a huge plus and they'll be receptive to cross training you on the business side of the deals) and companies where the founder is still heavily involved in day to day operations (founders like people that can wear multiple hats).

Breaking into a big, bureaucratic entity where specialized roles exist simply to carry out specific functions is going to be tough.

Out of curiosity, how much sponsor work have you done? I'm a little bit surprised that someone with sponsor experience would prefer to go into IB as opposed to trying to get in on the PE side of the game (whether at the sponsor level or at the portfolio company level).

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Re: Advice on Leaving the Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:Previous poster who went straight from a firm to a business role as an MD here. From reading your subsequent posts, I don't think you're going to find autonomy and responsibility in IB for a long time (unless you can go in running your group). I think you'll find that after the newness wears off you'll be in a similar position of doing the same rote work for your superiors while only changing minor details deal to deal.

To get in to positions of responsibility you need to go to lean, smaller outfits where everybody has to carry a heavy load or you need to go in at the top of any particular business group.

Out of curiosity, how much sponsor work have you done? I'm a little bit surprised that someone with sponsor experience would prefer to go into IB as opposed to trying to get in on the PE side of the game (whether at the sponsor level or at the portfolio company level).


80% of my work is sponsor-side. So yes, I realize the bankers are functionaries just like me but they are at least one step closer to the process and have the ability (super hard after analyst level) to jump to the buy-side. In 5 years I have yet to see an associate jump to PE business side (I am sure it happens at other firms). I would love to jump to PE or a smaller outfit but I lack any connections to the start-up scene (or rich folks) and my PE clients are all large enough that they hire in the traditional fashion (analysts/post-MBAs to be associates; law firm associates to be fund counsel; and occasionally partners at large firms to MD, flex legal/business roles and associates/partners at smaller/specialized firms to be in-house lawyers at the portfolio companies). I also feel that I currently lack the quantitative skills necessary to fulfill the role of an associate at a PE fund.

We have had a few people leave for "cool" in-house roles, but I have yet to see an associate jump to a PE client, ibank or MBB in a capacity other than as a lawyer.



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