JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

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NightmanCometh
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JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby NightmanCometh » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:33 am

There have been discussions about JD/MBAs before on this forum, and I have read through them. Basically the consensus on tls was- if you want to do law, get a JD, if you want to do business get an MBA, because they don't necessarily offer cross-disciplinary advantages.

But I would like to raise three potential advantages of JD/MBAs for a future corporate transactional associate (biglaw), and would like to see if people agree/disagree- with reasoning of course. These thoughts come from my experiences in working as a legal assistant then a legal consultant (not an associate) at a biglaw firm focused on large capital markets deals (I drafted and helped draft prospectuses, legal opinions, agreements, and filings).

1. Good legal disclosure stems from a good knowledge of how businesses work, for which an MBA would help: In all of the deals I worked on, I noticed a striking similarity between the tasks that lawyers and investment bankers do when building a book (prospectus). Not only do lawyers draft the traditional "legal" elements in the book such as the risk factors, they also work substantially on the business, financial information (md&a), and industry chapters. In fact if they are the securities issuer's counsel they will take the lead in drafting these sections. This requires not only the knowledge of what disclosure is required under the relevant regulations, but also sound knowledge of the client's business. How can you make good, non-misleading disclosure to investors (or fix god-awful disclosure by bankers) about a specific production concept or value chain if you don't know how they work or how to describe it? How can you work with accountants on disclosing revenues of operating segments as per SEC regulations if you don't know how operating segments are divided? etc etc. My point is that a lot of the partners and senior associates have a knack for drafting business-related material in a way that both the clients and underwriters like, but also in a precise manner that meets the standards of good disclosure, and they have told me that they acquired this skill after working on tons of deals. I think that an MBA would definitely help a junior associate jump out from the pack as someone who not only has the ability to think like a lawyer, but also think like the bankers/client, which is invaluable in progressing through the deal smoothly and making a favorable impression on the client/future clients (many who think of lawyers as a necessary evil who don't know squat about business).

2. A two-pronged alumni network that offers connections with future attorneys, but also with future businessmen and finance people that may comprise a future client base
: Rising up at a biglaw firm is about making it rain. Biglaw = big business, and the more clients you have on your side, the more valuable you become within the firm. You can be an articulate legal genius or the most hardworking person in your office, but by year 7 if you don't bring in business or can't execute a pitchbook to save your life, you will be out. A junior associate who had attended a prestigious MBA program and who understands the fine art of networking could have an "in" with many of the future C-level executives, managers, company founders, etc who will be looking for legal services.

3. Less time spent studying about stuff I don't care about: You can correct me if I am wrong, but after talking to many law students (friends) and former law students (I work at a law firm so those are plenty lol), there seems to be the broad consensus that after 1L, the legal courses become a lot more specialized, for better or for worse depending on your interests. My interest is to work on transactions and thus to be honest I don't really care about the finer points of torts or civil procedure apart from the basics covered in 1L. I've heard horror stories even about "advanced corporate law" classes that focus on interesting lawsuits (something largely irrelevant to a transactional practice) but don't even teach the basics of drafting shareholder resolutions. I like the fact that I can spend a year learning the fundamentals of law, then move to the business aspects rather than learn more in-depth about areas which I don't have a particular interest in.

So there it is, apologies for the length but I had been thinking of this for a while. Also note that I work only in the capital markets practice, so I am not sure how applicable this is to other fields of corporate transactional law such as M&A, credit, structured finance etc. I am thinking about applying to a JD/MBA next cycle, and if I decide to go through with it I will have to prepare for the MBA side (GMAT, recs, etc), so it is a big decision.

Would appreciate any insights from lawyers or from people who know lawyers on any of the three points.

Thanks!!

c3pO4
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby c3pO4 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:45 am

wayyyy tl;100% dr.

Here's all you need to know on this subjecT: MBA/JD can help if you have the JD gpa to get biglaw. Otherwise, MBA won't overwhelm. You also risk being perceived as a flight risk. But, if you can sell your desire to stay in biglaw for at least 5 years, and your JD qualifies you by itself, an MBA could be OK. When it's time for exit options, the MBA will help a lot.

MrAnon
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby MrAnon » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:56 am

Sounds like you are trying to justify the path less taken. No legal employer is going to give you an edge for going for an MBA. No one in your MBA program will understand why you are there. They will all have prior business background (if its a good program) and it sounds like you are a paralegal which is different. It sounds like you think MBA programs teach networking. They don't teach it. Its a trait that those people have. Lots of lawyers do lack the trait. It cannot be taught. You have it or you don't. In all honesty if you want to make it rain in biglaw or whatever, you need clients and connections before you ever go. Don't expect you are just going to bump into people and with your magic networking ability drum up business.

NightmanCometh
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby NightmanCometh » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:49 am

c3pO4 wrote:wayyyy tl;100% dr.

Here's all you need to know on this subjecT: MBA/JD can help if you have the JD gpa to get biglaw. Otherwise, MBA won't overwhelm. You also risk being perceived as a flight risk. But, if you can sell your desire to stay in biglaw for at least 5 years, and your JD qualifies you by itself, an MBA could be OK. When it's time for exit options, the MBA will help a lot.


Yes it was too long (again, apologies) and as a result you def DR bc that wasnt my question...

It was basically: would an MBA help an associate (who has already been hired, not who has been looking for employment) in getting ahead of the ranks, or to put it more bluntly to help that associate get on the partner track more easily?

MrAnon wrote:Sounds like you are trying to justify the path less taken. No legal employer is going to give you an edge for going for an MBA. No one in your MBA program will understand why you are there. They will all have prior business background (if its a good program) and it sounds like you are a paralegal which is different. It sounds like you think MBA programs teach networking. They don't teach it. Its a trait that those people have. Lots of lawyers do lack the trait. It cannot be taught. You have it or you don't. In all honesty if you want to make it rain in biglaw or whatever, you need clients and connections before you ever go. Don't expect you are just going to bump into people and with your magic networking ability drum up business.


I will have some business experience too apart from my legal experience. And your point "if you want to make it rain you need clients and connections before you ever go"- this is precisely my #2 point, that the MBA would give you those pre-firm entrance connections and thus increase your value to the firm (obv depending on networking ability during b-school).

Now that I think of it I guess this is the wrong place to post this kind of question lol, as it pertains to what happens after obtaining legal employment, not finding legal employment...my bad.
Thanks anyways guys!

bdubs
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby bdubs » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:37 am

1) What school(s) are you asking about? You can't vaguely speak about the value of the MBA or JD without specifying the school.
2) Your points are somewhat valid, but they don't make the case for spending the extra $$$ on the MBA (no matter what school).
3) The real value of the MBA is in exit options 5-8 years down the line when you're considering jumping off (or being thrown off) partner track.

Master Tofu
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby Master Tofu » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:26 am

The big cons of JD/MBA is a) it takes more time, b) it takes more money, and c) it brands you as a flight risk. If none of that matters, of course, it would be helpful to have that business background for any of the reasons you discussed.

BeautifulSW
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby BeautifulSW » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:30 am

According to the mavens at taxtalent.com BigLaw doesn't even care if its tax attorneys are CPAs!

Get a J.D. if and only if you want to do law. If you want to do law (except maybe patent) no other advanced degree is likely to be necessary.

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vamedic03
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby vamedic03 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:48 am

This is in the wrong forum. OP is a 0L and this belongs in 'Ask a Law Student' or FAQ's.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=170600

Anonymous User
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:03 am

As a current JD/MBA, I can think of a few other advantages

1) You get to do OCI twice. Of the JD/MBAs I know, most did remarkably better the second time. I don't know why (maybe it's because I had a full-time offer in hand? maybe it's because i was comfortable interviewing?)

2) It evens out your workload. IF you do not recruit at the business school, then b-school will be MUCH, MUCH easier than law school. The hardest part of business school is recruiting and if you're planning to go into a law firm, then business school will be easy (assuming you're not absolutely horrible at basic math - b-school math doesn't go above 9th or 10th grade).

3) If you decide to ditch the law firm route, this gives you a respectable exit option.

4) Going to business school will change how you view law firms. Everyone says "law firms are businesses" and it's true. Going to business school will make you look at everything as a "business model." For example, law firms bill by the hour. A law firm will trade you their time for your money. Thus, if you want to make profits, you need to bill a lot of hours. This means you will work long hours.

There are FOUR disadvantages (and they're pretty big)

1) loss of time
2) loss of money (sigh ... i fall asleep crying looking at my student loan debt)
3) You can learn almost everything in business school on the job (this includes (4) above). Having an MBA looks nice on the resume but it's not necessary for being a lawyer.
4) if you end up hating being a lawyer and want to switch careers via b-school later, you can't do it

Final piece of advice: Just like law school (actually more so), school prestige matters. It's not completely dispositive, but it just makes life that much easier. As it turns out, both b-school and law school are the HR department for businesses and law firms. DO NOT get an MBA from a no-name school. It is completely worthless.

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thesealocust
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby thesealocust » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:58 am

OP: There will be 0 advantage to having an MBA in the law firm environment. It's plausible it could have slight benefits down the road. Very, very few firms are going to see the JD/MBA as a material boost vs. just looking at your JD school + performance when making hiring decisions.

Anonymous User wrote:4) Going to business school will change how you view law firms. Everyone says "law firms are businesses" and it's true. Going to business school will make you look at everything as a "business model." For example, law firms bill by the hour. A law firm will trade you their time for your money. Thus, if you want to make profits, you need to bill a lot of hours. This means you will work long hours.


Holy shit. Now I really wish I had gotten an MBA so I could have understood that!

cantabaout
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby cantabaout » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:22 pm

I think being able to do OCI twice is great.

I know someone who struck out in 2008/9 and switched to JD/MBA. She got a V20 job at an Asian office with below-average grades. She knows an Asian language, though, so it's not entirely deal to her MBA.

c3pO4
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby c3pO4 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:05 pm

OK OP clarified that his question was --- does getting an MBA help an existing associate? NO.

That is so insane. Yes, take 2 years off your law firm track to get an MBA so you can "make it rain" and then make partner.... no f'ing way that will do anything but get you shown the door.

NightmanCometh
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby NightmanCometh » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:38 pm

c3pO4 wrote:OK OP clarified that his question was --- does getting an MBA help an existing associate? NO.

That is so insane. Yes, take 2 years off your law firm track to get an MBA so you can "make it rain" and then make partner.... no f'ing way that will do anything but get you shown the door.


You are oversimplifying it, I didn't say JD/MBA -> partner. All I asked was that if the skills + connections acquired in the MBA process would help a junior associate jump ahead of the pack in terms of drafting ability (you draft business/financial documents as a lawyer- you know that right?), agreement terms negotiation (against underwriters bankers/business people), client impressions (clients who think lawyers who know business are more legit), business development (b-school connections) are ENOUGH to justify the costs. And I was talking about an accelerated JD/MBA track of 3 years, so I don't think 2 years are wasted (correct me if I am wrong). I don't think it's such an insane question...

thesealocust wrote:OP: There will be 0 advantage to having an MBA in the law firm environment. It's plausible it could have slight benefits down the road. Very, very few firms are going to see the JD/MBA as a material boost vs. just looking at your JD school + performance when making hiring decisions.


Good point, thanks. I understand that the firms don't give a shit about the JD/MBA on paper (it is a law firm, after all), I guess I was more interested in the intangibles and skills that an MBA could help for an associate's performance down the line.

Anonymous User, that was great- thanks for your breakdown, it was really helpful!

vamedic03 wrote:This is in the wrong forum. OP is a 0L and this belongs in 'Ask a Law Student' or FAQ's.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=170600


Noted, will post there for further questions re. this topic.

NightmanCometh
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby NightmanCometh » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:41 pm

bdubs wrote:1) What school(s) are you asking about? You can't vaguely speak about the value of the MBA or JD without specifying the school.
2) Your points are somewhat valid, but they don't make the case for spending the extra $$$ on the MBA (no matter what school).
3) The real value of the MBA is in exit options 5-8 years down the line when you're considering jumping off (or being thrown off) partner track.


1. This would be a top 10 law school/business school accelerated program, possibly Columbia or Chicago.
2. Would this apply even for the accelerated program?
3. Great point

bdubs
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby bdubs » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:54 pm

NightmanCometh wrote:
bdubs wrote:1) What school(s) are you asking about? You can't vaguely speak about the value of the MBA or JD without specifying the school.
2) Your points are somewhat valid, but they don't make the case for spending the extra $$$ on the MBA (no matter what school).
3) The real value of the MBA is in exit options 5-8 years down the line when you're considering jumping off (or being thrown off) partner track.


1. This would be a top 10 law school/business school accelerated program, possibly Columbia or Chicago.
2. Would this apply even for the accelerated program?
3. Great point


1) Those are great schools, no problems with credibility there. You mentioned 3 year programs though, Chicago doesn't have one. Columbia's program is brand new, but it looks good.
2) Yes. All 3 year programs charge more tuition than 3 years of law school alone. Columbia charges 50% more for your 2nd and 3rd years of the 3 year program.
http://www.law.columbia.edu/three-year-jd-mba/faq
3) This is really all you should be thinking about. If you do a short term analysis of cost/benefit you will always find a JD/MBA holding the short straw (unless you place an extreme cost on lack of choice).

Master Tofu
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby Master Tofu » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:55 pm

vamedic03 wrote:This is in the wrong forum. OP is a 0L and this belongs in 'Ask a Law Student' or FAQ's.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=170600


To be fair, I can't think of too many law students who would be able to answer this question.

NightmanCometh
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby NightmanCometh » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:43 pm

Master Tofu wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:This is in the wrong forum. OP is a 0L and this belongs in 'Ask a Law Student' or FAQ's.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=170600


To be fair, I can't think of too many law students who would be able to answer this question.


Agreed, discussion closed I guess. Thanks all for the input though!

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vamedic03
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:21 am

Master Tofu wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:This is in the wrong forum. OP is a 0L and this belongs in 'Ask a Law Student' or FAQ's.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=170600


To be fair, I can't think of too many law students who would be able to answer this question.


This forum is inclusive of graduates as well. Nonetheless, the OP is clearly not a law student asking about employment and therefor did not belong in the Law Students and Graduates Forum.

Further, it appears that OP would only be satisfied with answers that fit into his expectations and got rather snarky with some posters pretty quickly.

OP - every JD/MBA graduate that I know would only recommend a JD/MBA if you have a very specific, very thought out plan for it (and just working for a law firm was not the plan).

c3pO4
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby c3pO4 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:24 am

It won't help you make partner. It might help with exit options. It will hurt with getting biglaw jobs compared to a JD alone with the same gpa at a top school.

Lawyers draft financial documents, so get an MBA. tHIS is symplistic thinking. A good JD will be as good or better than an MBA at drafting business documents.

OP, you asked a pretty silly question, or at least a question with a very obvious and clear answer, and then didn't like when people told you the truth. If you want an MBA because you want to become a partner or be a better lawyer, you are wasting your time. If you know you will be leaving the firm and going into a business track where an MBA will help, then the MBA will help for that. But, everybody will know when you interview that you want to jump ship due to your MBA. Sorry if you got upset when somebody questioned your long and thought out question, but you were overthinking a simple thing (incorrectly).

bdubs
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby bdubs » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:37 am

c3pO4 wrote:It will hurt with getting biglaw jobs compared to a JD alone with the same gpa at a top school.


This is wrong.

c3pO4
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby c3pO4 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:55 am

fair enough. but if your gpa would get you biglaw already, an MBA won't help.

NightmanCometh
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby NightmanCometh » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:11 am

vamedic03 wrote:This forum is inclusive of graduates as well. Nonetheless, the OP is clearly not a law student asking about employment and therefor did not belong in the Law Students and Graduates Forum.

Further, it appears that OP would only be satisfied with answers that fit into his expectations and got rather snarky with some posters pretty quickly.

OP - every JD/MBA graduate that I know would only recommend a JD/MBA if you have a very specific, very thought out plan for it (and just working for a law firm was not the plan).


Sure, good point and this was the kind of response I was looking for (ie u know someone who has gone through or is going through it). Was only snarky to those people who claimed it was a "stupid/silly question" but did not add to his/her opinion by talking about someone who they knew who had an experience with it before.

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IAFG
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby IAFG » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:12 am

JDMBAs at Northwestern/Kellogg seem to out-perform their GPAs, but at great cost: it's as much as a law degree AND an MBA. That's a lot of loans, even on a BigLaw salary.

c3pO4
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby c3pO4 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:45 am

NightmanCometh wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:This forum is inclusive of graduates as well. Nonetheless, the OP is clearly not a law student asking about employment and therefor did not belong in the Law Students and Graduates Forum.

Further, it appears that OP would only be satisfied with answers that fit into his expectations and got rather snarky with some posters pretty quickly.

OP - every JD/MBA graduate that I know would only recommend a JD/MBA if you have a very specific, very thought out plan for it (and just working for a law firm was not the plan).


Sure, good point and this was the kind of response I was looking for (ie u know someone who has gone through or is going through it). Was only snarky to those people who claimed it was a "stupid/silly question" but did not add to his/her opinion by talking about someone who they knew who had an experience with it before.


lol. obviously i know many people with jd/mba's as does any law student at a school where there is a joint program. does that change anything?

SchopenhauerFTW
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Re: JD/MBA 3 biglaw advantages? current lawyers please chime in

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:35 am

IAFG wrote:It's as much as a law degree AND an MBA.

:shock: Holy crap. I know you can't get like a two-for-one deal, but I can't get the MBA for a bit less? I have some thinking to do over break.




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