Lacking business background

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TLSNYC
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Lacking business background

Postby TLSNYC » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:51 pm

I'm fairly set that I will be attending law school in the fall and like many OLs am unsure what kind of law would interest me. I like the thought of working for a big firm doing litigation, but I am nervous that I have NO background whatsoever in business. I majored in philosophy and I cannot tell you any facts about corporations, how they work, how stocks/shareholders work, etc I am completely lost and I was wondering what I could do to make myself a little less ignorant over the summer before law school.

ran12
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby ran12 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:02 pm

TLSNYC wrote:I'm fairly set that I will be attending law school in the fall and like many OLs am unsure what kind of law would interest me. I like the thought of working for a big firm doing litigation, but I am nervous that I have NO background whatsoever in business. I majored in philosophy and I cannot tell you any facts about corporations, how they work, how stocks/shareholders work, etc I am completely lost and I was wondering what I could do to make myself a little less ignorant over the summer before law school.


Just google that stuff and all the basic info you need should be pretty easy to find. You can also buy a business law book and skim it if you want but that's not something I recommend.

Renzo
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby Renzo » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:06 pm

Read Dealings by Felix Rohaytn.

It's an autobiography of a very accomplished banker/public servant/diplomat. It's non-technical, it's an interesting insider's look of the rooms from where our national economy is run (the White House, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, etc.), and it'll give you a good flavor for the kind of big-picture things that wall street lawyers do. He talks about several famous financial crisis', scandals, financial deals, etc.

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Shooter
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby Shooter » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:14 pm

ran12 wrote:
TLSNYC wrote:I'm fairly set that I will be attending law school in the fall and like many OLs am unsure what kind of law would interest me. I like the thought of working for a big firm doing litigation, but I am nervous that I have NO background whatsoever in business. I majored in philosophy and I cannot tell you any facts about corporations, how they work, how stocks/shareholders work, etc I am completely lost and I was wondering what I could do to make myself a little less ignorant over the summer before law school.


Just google that stuff and all the basic info you need should be pretty easy to find. You can also buy a business law book and skim it if you want but that's not something I recommend.


In my opinion, this will probably not work.

This probably will work...

1) Read the WSJ.
2) Read everything Michael Porter has ever written.
3) Read this http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/home.aspx, particularly the stuff on Corporate Finance.

Don't stress too much though. I'm sure you'll be fine.

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vamedic03
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby vamedic03 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:11 pm

TLSNYC wrote:I'm fairly set that I will be attending law school in the fall and like many OLs am unsure what kind of law would interest me. I like the thought of working for a big firm doing litigation, but I am nervous that I have NO background whatsoever in business. I majored in philosophy and I cannot tell you any facts about corporations, how they work, how stocks/shareholders work, etc I am completely lost and I was wondering what I could do to make myself a little less ignorant over the summer before law school.


You really don't need that info before school. You'll cover most, if not all of that, in Corporations (or business associations or whatever your school calls it).

Otherwise, start reading the economist or WSJ every now and then and wikipedia terms you don't understand.

bdubs
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby bdubs » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:13 pm

Most lawyers I work with are relatively incompetent when it comes to business operations, I don't think you'll be alone. On the other hand, having business knowledge can be very valuable as an attorney.

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DamnLSAT
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby DamnLSAT » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:27 pm

bdubs wrote:Most lawyers I work with are relatively incompetent when it comes to business operations, I don't think you'll be alone. On the other hand, having business knowledge can be very valuable as an attorney.


I hope this is correct - My GPA took a thrashing from a Top 15 business school with solid grade deflation. I want to do litigation (hopefully business lit), and I'm counting on that education to back me up.

Renzo
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby Renzo » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:57 pm

Shooter wrote:
ran12 wrote:
TLSNYC wrote:I'm fairly set that I will be attending law school in the fall and like many OLs am unsure what kind of law would interest me. I like the thought of working for a big firm doing litigation, but I am nervous that I have NO background whatsoever in business. I majored in philosophy and I cannot tell you any facts about corporations, how they work, how stocks/shareholders work, etc I am completely lost and I was wondering what I could do to make myself a little less ignorant over the summer before law school.


Just google that stuff and all the basic info you need should be pretty easy to find. You can also buy a business law book and skim it if you want but that's not something I recommend.


In my opinion, this will probably not work.

This probably will work...

1) Read the WSJ.
2) Read everything Michael Porter has ever written.
3) Read this http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/home.aspx, particularly the stuff on Corporate Finance.

Don't stress too much though. I'm sure you'll be fine.

This is terrible advice for someone who doesn't understand basics about the corporate form. Ok, well #1 is good, but OP, ignore 2 and 3. A bunch of jargon-laden reports for business insiders will not help you at all.

vamedic03 wrote:start reading the economist or WSJ every now and then and wikipedia terms you don't understand.


This is much better advice.

TLSNYC
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby TLSNYC » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:18 pm

Thanks so much for all the suggestions...I'll definitely start reading the WSJ!

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Shooter
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby Shooter » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:22 pm

Renzo wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:start reading the economist or WSJ every now and then and wikipedia terms you don't understand.


This is much better advice.


You are kidding right? Are you honestly suggesting OP should just... wikipedia stuff?

OP - please don't follow this advice. The Harvard Business Review is not that difficult to absorb, and understanding the basic principles of corporate strategy will help you immensely.

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fathergoose
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby fathergoose » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:31 pm

listen carefully, I'll only be saying this once. Business is a lot of hocus pocus for the most part, lucrative hocus pocus, but hocus pocus none the less.

That being said, if you want to get a general grasp, read these:

Liars Poker
Intelligent Investor
When Genius Fails
Traders, Guns, and Money
Barbarians at the Gate
The Black Swan
Titan

If you read all 7 of those, and look up the terms you don't know, you will have a pretty good basic understanding of the hocus pocus

Renzo
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby Renzo » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:43 pm

fathergoose wrote:listen carefully, I'll only be saying this once. Business is a lot of hocus pocus for the most part, lucrative hocus pocus, but hocus pocus none the less.

That being said, if you want to get a general grasp, read these:

Liars Poker
Intelligent Investor
When Genius Failed
Traders, Guns, and MoneyBarbarians at the Gate
The Black Swan
Titan

If you read all 7 of those, and look up the terms you don't know, you will have a pretty good basic understanding of the hocus pocus


Now I agree, but I'd put my suggestion back on the list. Don't listen to the joker who wants you to read "corporate strategy"

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fathergoose
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby fathergoose » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:46 pm

Really? You'd cut out Ben Graham? Surprising.

Traders, guns, and money is really a must if you want to have any hope really understanding what a derivative is, although the Big Short does a pretty good job of explaining that sort of thing as well.

Why no Black Swan?

ran12
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby ran12 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:57 pm

Shooter wrote:
Renzo wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:start reading the economist or WSJ every now and then and wikipedia terms you don't understand.


This is much better advice.


You are kidding right? Are you honestly suggesting OP should just... wikipedia stuff?

OP - please don't follow this advice. The Harvard Business Review is not that difficult to absorb, and understanding the basic principles of corporate strategy will help you immensely.


It is an easy read but considering OP has no idea about any business terms or processes, prob not the best source to begin with.

Renzo
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby Renzo » Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:05 am

fathergoose wrote:Really? You'd cut out Ben Graham? Surprising.

Traders, guns, and money is really a must if you want to have any hope really understanding what a derivative is, although the Big Short does a pretty good job of explaining that sort of thing as well.

Why no Black Swan?

They're all good reads, but the ones I crossed out stray pretty far from the goal of a fundamental understanding of business, and corporate culture.

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fathergoose
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby fathergoose » Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:08 am

Renzo wrote:
fathergoose wrote:Really? You'd cut out Ben Graham? Surprising.

Traders, guns, and money is really a must if you want to have any hope really understanding what a derivative is, although the Big Short does a pretty good job of explaining that sort of thing as well.

Why no Black Swan?

They're all good reads, but the ones I crossed out stray pretty far from the goal of a fundamental understanding of business, and corporate culture.

Fair enough.

I just think they give some insight into some buzz words that people throw around a lot.

But I can see how it might be one bridge to far.

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WVUCelticFan
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby WVUCelticFan » Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:34 am

My two cents:

Reading about corporate strategy isn't going to help the OP if they have little to no business background. Porter is indeed essential reading for business people, but not for someone starting out. My suggestions would be to:

1) Go to your school's library and see if they have a BUS 101 book that you could flip through and get familiar with some of the basic terms.
2) Read the WSJ, even if its just the "What's New" feature on the front page.

Just having the basic terms down and a working knowledge of what is currently happening in the business world will let OP focus on the law part of any business-related law classes and not on trying to figure out what all the basics are.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:37 am

bdubs wrote:Most lawyers I work with are relatively incompetent when it comes to business operations, I don't think you'll be alone. On the other hand, having business knowledge can be very valuable as an attorney.



Probably true of big firm lawyers (and many of them don't know much about the law either, believe me). However, if you end up at a smaller or mid-sized firm where your work product and skill level mean something, a lack of basic business world understanding is a huge negative.

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vamedic03
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:29 am

Shooter wrote:
Renzo wrote:
vamedic03 wrote:start reading the economist or WSJ every now and then and wikipedia terms you don't understand.


This is much better advice.


You are kidding right? Are you honestly suggesting OP should just... wikipedia stuff?

OP - please don't follow this advice. The Harvard Business Review is not that difficult to absorb, and understanding the basic principles of corporate strategy will help you immensely.


Dude, just wikipedia'ing stuff is a great way to learn terms you don't understand. You don't need to go to business school to be a transactional attorney; but, you do need to understand the terms.

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Shooter
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby Shooter » Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:31 pm

Listen, the whole "Business is easy, you just have to wikipedia things." argument works well on the internet - but it doesn't translate to the real world. Chances are, OP is going to be working with some pretty astute business professionals. They aren't going to care whether or not the OP has a vague familiarity with a few random BUS101 terms, but if OP fails to understand how corporations interact with the world around them and what features of their business are central to their success, it is going to be a long road.

In my opinion, all the cool, trendy business books in the world are not going to tell OP what he needs to know.

Having said that, if there is any book that every corporate lawyer should read, it's "Make the Rules or Your Rivals Will" by G. Richard Shell. Shell is a lawyer-turned-business professor at Wharton, and he uses Porter's generic strategies to explain how legal transactions are actually used by corporations. It gets at the heart of competitive strategy, without using ridiculous jargon.

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ahduth
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby ahduth » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:12 am

Renzo wrote:
Shooter wrote:
ran12 wrote:
TLSNYC wrote:I'm fairly set that I will be attending law school in the fall and like many OLs am unsure what kind of law would interest me. I like the thought of working for a big firm doing litigation, but I am nervous that I have NO background whatsoever in business. I majored in philosophy and I cannot tell you any facts about corporations, how they work, how stocks/shareholders work, etc I am completely lost and I was wondering what I could do to make myself a little less ignorant over the summer before law school.


Just google that stuff and all the basic info you need should be pretty easy to find. You can also buy a business law book and skim it if you want but that's not something I recommend.


In my opinion, this will probably not work.

This probably will work...

1) Read the WSJ.
2) Read everything Michael Porter has ever written.
3) Read this http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/home.aspx, particularly the stuff on Corporate Finance.

Don't stress too much though. I'm sure you'll be fine.

This is terrible advice for someone who doesn't understand basics about the corporate form. Ok, well #1 is good, but OP, ignore 2 and 3. A bunch of jargon-laden reports for business insiders will not help you at all.


No, Micheal Porter is fine. Useless perhaps, but fine. High schoolers can read that stuff.

McKinsey's little freebies are great, if you can't understand them... learn.

Renzo
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby Renzo » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:50 pm

ahduth wrote:[

McKinsey's little freebies are great, if you can't understand them... learn.

This is why so much of the above advice is useless. We're talking about how to learn; not whether or not it should be done. Once the OP feels comfortable with the answers to things like "what is stock?" and "how does a corporation work?" THEN he/she can move on to things like corporate strategy.

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Fred_McGriff
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby Fred_McGriff » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:59 am

http://www.investopedia.com

Great overview of all sorts of topics, has all sorts of quizzes etc. Great source and general financial reference wiki.

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tea_drinker
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby tea_drinker » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:38 pm

Fred_McGriff wrote:http://www.investopedia.com

Great overview of all sorts of topics, has all sorts of quizzes etc. Great source and general financial reference wiki.


Thank you so much for the link. It's certainly helpful.

Excel
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Re: Lacking business background

Postby Excel » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:57 am

Fool.com is kind of "stocks for dummies", give it a look as well.




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