law vs banking-which career is tougher?

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partypajamas
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law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby partypajamas » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:12 pm

do lawyers have tougher careers or do investment bankers? i heard bankers put in long hours as well and most definitly need an MBA to gain top positions....also, only star traders etc. will make the big $$$.

if i cringe at the sight of numbers/derivitives law is better right?

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prezidentv8
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby prezidentv8 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:14 pm

partypajamas wrote:do lawyers have tougher careers or do investment bankers? i heard bankers put in long hours as well and most definitly need an MBA to gain top positions....also, only star traders etc. will make the big $$$.

if i cringe at the sight of numbers/derivitives law is better right?


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AreJay711
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby AreJay711 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:18 pm

This is a bad way of looking at things. If you want to make $$$ just be good at what you do. Really everyone that is good at what they do makes money while the rest don't (except doctors, those bastards can suck and still make good money).

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PDaddy
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby PDaddy » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:23 pm

partypajamas wrote:do lawyers have tougher careers or do investment bankers? i heard bankers put in long hours as well and most definitly need an MBA to gain top positions....also, only star traders etc. will make the big $$$.

if i cringe at the sight of numbers/derivitives law is better right?


Both are pressure-filled professions in which you are working 'round the clock. The difference is in the pay: IB's can make, on average, ten times the money attorneys make.

I would go for IB if I needed to make a choice between those two, and only those two professions. Luckily, I don't. The above post is also correct. If you truly love what you do and are very good at it, you can get rich doing it. Still, the average IB makes much more money than does the average lawyer. That's just a fact. It's also true that a lot of IB's are either lucky, criminal or both, and not necessarily the best at what they do. But that can be said of people in just about any profession, even medicine.

aca0260
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby aca0260 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:39 pm

partypajamas wrote:do lawyers have tougher careers or do investment bankers? i heard bankers put in long hours as well and most definitly need an MBA to gain top positions....also, only star traders etc. will make the big $$$.

if i cringe at the sight of numbers/derivitives law is better right?


I'm not sure you know what investment banking is. Trading is not IB.

ran12
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby ran12 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:48 pm

Trading is part of IB but it's more lower rung on the totem pole. I went to b-school and know a lot of bankers and their lifestyle is not the greatest but better than a lawyer's. They make more money, make it faster and actually work less hours. IB requires ridiculous hours but corporate lawyers actually work longer hours, esp. if you end up as a corporate lawyer at a bank. Bankers like to dump their work on the corporate lawyers late and essentially, they more or less do the same work for huge differences in pay.

Curious1
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby Curious1 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:06 pm

Both are pressure-filled professions in which you are working 'round the clock. The difference is in the pay: IB's can make, on average, ten times the money attorneys make.


This is stupid. At no level is the difference 10 times, unless you're comparing 1st year associates (in law) to senior MDs (in banking).

The scale for IBs start at around $120K as a first year analyst (including bonus), in the 200s or 300s as associates (including bonus), and 500 or 600 for VPs (including bonus). MD level is where the money is, and BASE pay for MDs is 400K-600K depending on the bank, but the bonus can be millions depending on how you do.

So the difference is really only found at the extreme upper end of the professions, if you're comparing...for example, the senior partner at WLRK to Jamie Dimon. An average partner at a big firm is probably paid a little more than an average IB VP but less than an average banking MD. And an average mid-level associate in both professions are paid about the same, but banks have a more variation, depending on the bank and the market.

As for the work, both professions are very intense.

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rayiner
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby rayiner » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:14 pm

ran12 wrote:Trading is part of IB but it's more lower rung on the totem pole.


What are you taking about? Traders run JPM/GS/MS now.

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fatduck
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby fatduck » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:15 pm

rayiner wrote:
ran12 wrote:Trading is part of IB but it's more lower rung on the totem pole.


Goldman/JPM/MS are run by traitors now.

now let's not be rash

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dowu
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby dowu » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:36 pm

fatduck wrote:
rayiner wrote:
ran12 wrote:Trading is part of IB but it's more lower rung on the totem pole.


Goldman/JPM/MS are run by traitors now.

now let's not be rash


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partypajamas
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby partypajamas » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:35 am

The thing is, i HATE numbers. i could possibly take calc and stuff but i just really dislike numbers. Does a banking career require the use of math skills daily?

potl
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby potl » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:52 am

partypajamas wrote:The thing is, i HATE numbers. i could possibly take calc and stuff but i just really dislike numbers. Does a banking career require the use of math skills daily?


I'm not in the sector at all, so take my perspective with a grain of salt.

I'd guess that it depends upon what you mean by "i HATE numbers." In banking, you'd probably have to deal with a lot of math/numbers, but much more in terms of number SENSE (what do these numbers mean? what sort of model makes sense in this situation?) than in terms of calculations (how do I use the chain rule to find the derivative here?).

I'd expect bankers to use Excel and other calculation software to do most of the number crunching, but the bankers would have to know how to use it appropriately.

TL;DR: If you find the calculation process tedious, but have a strong understanding of how math operates (and typically do well on word problems), you should be okay. If you just don't understand what numbers mean and hate everything about them, then banking probably won't be a good fit.

Again, this is all just guessing. Empirically, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

partypajamas
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby partypajamas » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:22 am

im at USC right now as a sophomore...if i want to major in business then i need to take calculus 1 and pre calculus...i took algebra 2 a long time ago..... i just find stuff like statistics so boring. Wouldnt law be a better fit for me?

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alwayssunnyinfl
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby alwayssunnyinfl » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:42 am

partypajamas wrote:im at USC right now as a sophomore...if i want to major in business then i need to take calculus 1 and pre calculus...i took algebra 2 a long time ago..... i just find stuff like statistics so boring. Wouldnt law be a better fit for me?


Unless you have a trust fund that requires you to be either a lawyer or banker to access it, you should expand your options a bit.

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dingbat
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby dingbat » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:49 am

There is so much wrong with this thread, I don't even know where to begin.

Starting out in IB, you could have a base pay as low as $60k (but you didn't need to go to law school). Bonuses vary a lot, but don't expect to break six figures in your first year (sometimes not before your first "promotion"). You are expected to work stupid hours, but it depends on how things are moving. You could work 9-5 all week, but then on Friday night be told to prepare a report by Monday morning and there goes your weekend. Or, you could be near closing on a deal and be expected to just about sleep in the office, just in case someone in California happens to email a document late in the day.

It is entirely possible to progress without an MBA. Part of it is longevity, part of it is luck. If you can make it up to AVP without one, there won't be any need to get one either. As an AVP, you can expect to take home a quarter million dollars a year. If you make it further up, the money can get stupid, but expecting to become an MD is like expecting to become a partner in biglaw - very few people make it.

You're also a lot more likely to get fired at the spur of the moment in IB. I don't care how high you've made it. Some of the MDs I worked with during the boom years are currently unemployed, or had to set up their own shop after being fired. Either your department performs, or you're out. XYZ type of work is no longer profitable enough? They'll shitcan the entire division. There's an order from the top to cut half the workforce? oh well.

edit: also, what bankers do can vary a lot. Some people do very little number work at all while others practically program Excel 24/7. Could be doc review, could be sales/service oriented, could be a lot of things.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby Bildungsroman » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:09 pm

partypajamas wrote:im at USC right now as a sophomore...if i want to major in business then i need to take calculus 1 and pre calculus...i took algebra 2 a long time ago..... i just find stuff like statistics so boring. Wouldnt law be a better fit for me?

Not every sentence needs to end with a goddamn ellipsis.

potl
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby potl » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:12 pm

partypajamas wrote:im at USC right now as a sophomore...if i want to major in business then i need to take calculus 1 and pre calculus...i took algebra 2 a long time ago..... i just find stuff like statistics so boring. Wouldnt law be a better fit for me?


A few thoughts:

1) It's unfortunate that you find statistics boring, but keep in mind that your perception of the subject may largely be influenced by the quality of your professor. Depending upon the major you end up choosing, you may have to take another subject-specific statistics class. I would recommend asking around to find out which professors are the "best" (in terms of making the subject meaningful/engaging - often not the same as the "easiest" grader). I cannot emphasize how important statistics is in the real world - any field that requires respectable data analysis in any regard will use statistics, so it's important that you understand it.

2) I would recommend that you take calculus 1 regardless of what you choose to study for your degree. I think that it's generally beneficial for people to take classes in things that they're either not well-versed in and/or don't feel super comfortable with. You gain the potential to learn a lot and to enhance your perspective. For the same reasons, I'd suggest taking some courses in philosophy, religion, a social science, a non-native cultural history, etc.

3) I'm a 0L, so I want to be cautious on how much to comment on this, but it seems like the study/practice of law deals a lot with logical reasoning - understanding rules, interpreting given information, and taking one of many systematic approaches to solving problems or arriving at conclusions. In that regard, law is not so different from math. Admittedly, law seems to require lots of reading/writing, but it ALSO seems to utilize some of the same basic skills/ideas that math does.


I feel obligated to mention that I do have a background in math, so my view is not entirely objective. But I still stand by it.

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fatduck
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby fatduck » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:14 pm

y'all are giving great advice and i'm gonna let you finish, but have you considered that "partypajamas" may be a dumb?

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dingbat
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby dingbat » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:16 pm

fatduck wrote:y'all are giving great advice and i'm gonna let you finish, but have you considered that "partypajamas" may be a dumb?

"play the ball, not the man"

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laxbrah420
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby laxbrah420 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:21 pm

aca0260 wrote:
partypajamas wrote:do lawyers have tougher careers or do investment bankers? i heard bankers put in long hours as well and most definitly need an MBA to gain top positions....also, only star traders etc. will make the big $$$.

if i cringe at the sight of numbers/derivitives law is better right?


I'm not sure you know what investment banking is. Trading is not IB.

Lolwut

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rayiner
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby rayiner » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:25 pm

laxbrah420 wrote:
aca0260 wrote:
partypajamas wrote:do lawyers have tougher careers or do investment bankers? i heard bankers put in long hours as well and most definitly need an MBA to gain top positions....also, only star traders etc. will make the big $$$.

if i cringe at the sight of numbers/derivitives law is better right?


I'm not sure you know what investment banking is. Trading is not IB.

Lolwut


Most people making a distinction between investment banking and trading, even though "investment banks" do both (and mostly the latter these days).

$$$$$$
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby $$$$$$ » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:36 pm

Investment Banks have trading floors, but traders are not investment bankers, and if you called a trader an investment banker they would probably be pissed off. Investment banking you will make a shit ton more money than as a lawyer. In the good years, after 2 years, many bankers would be hired by PE shops and get paid 2-3X as much 1st year associates make. It's harder to get these positions now, but I know people that have done it. To me, PE is more interesting than law because I like/miss numbers and you are the people (firm) actually taking on the risk/getting the reward of the deal. Banking can vary as too what you do (from underwriting/negotiating/crunching numbers/etc)

Also, whoever said traders are lower rung than Ibankers are morons. Trading is the most profitable wing of major investment banks and will probably continue to be since Volcker is a 500 page lobbyist's dream mess. Traders after their 2nd year make a % of what they earn, its all performance based and those people are probably some of the smartest i've ever met. People that are good traders will be making well over 1 mill by the time they are thirty. But trading is probably the most stressful job, my friends had no life for 2 years and at 25 want to quit and be musicians in brazil...shit burns you out.

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dingbat
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby dingbat » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:56 pm

$$$$$$ wrote:Investment Banks have trading floors, but traders are not investment bankers, and if you called a trader an investment banker they would probably be pissed off. Investment banking you will make a shit ton more money than as a lawyer. In the good years, after 2 years, many bankers would be hired by PE shops and get paid 2-3X as much 1st year associates make. It's harder to get these positions now, but I know people that have done it. To me, PE is more interesting than law because I like/miss numbers and you are the people (firm) actually taking on the risk/getting the reward of the deal. Banking can vary as too what you do (from underwriting/negotiating/crunching numbers/etc)

Also, whoever said traders are lower rung than Ibankers are morons. Trading is the most profitable wing of major investment banks and will probably continue to be since Volcker is a 500 page lobbyist's dream mess. Traders after their 2nd year make a % of what they earn, its all performance based and those people are probably some of the smartest i've ever met. People that are good traders will be making well over 1 mill by the time they are thirty. But trading is probably the most stressful job, my friends had no life for 2 years and at 25 want to quit and be musicians in brazil...shit burns you out.

This is both true, and as rosy as saying that lawyers start out by making $160k/year and many go on to being equity partners.

$$$$$$
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby $$$$$$ » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:03 pm

dingbat wrote:
$$$$$$ wrote:Investment Banks have trading floors, but traders are not investment bankers, and if you called a trader an investment banker they would probably be pissed off. Investment banking you will make a shit ton more money than as a lawyer. In the good years, after 2 years, many bankers would be hired by PE shops and get paid 2-3X as much 1st year associates make. It's harder to get these positions now, but I know people that have done it. To me, PE is more interesting than law because I like/miss numbers and you are the people (firm) actually taking on the risk/getting the reward of the deal. Banking can vary as too what you do (from underwriting/negotiating/crunching numbers/etc)

Also, whoever said traders are lower rung than Ibankers are morons. Trading is the most profitable wing of major investment banks and will probably continue to be since Volcker is a 500 page lobbyist's dream mess. Traders after their 2nd year make a % of what they earn, its all performance based and those people are probably some of the smartest i've ever met. People that are good traders will be making well over 1 mill by the time they are thirty. But trading is probably the most stressful job, my friends had no life for 2 years and at 25 want to quit and be musicians in brazil...shit burns you out.

This is both true, and as rosy as saying that lawyers start out by making $160k/year and many go on to being equity partners.


Too be fair, many do, just not at the firms that they were associates at. I firms I had interviewed with, many were v10 associates --> v100 partners. I don't know if you are referring to the trading stuff or Ibank to PE stuff, but most of my friends that were bankers now work in PE and their offers were usually for $350+ base first year PE. Trading is harder and I don't know as much, but I know in the old days hedge funds would eat up good traders and pay then 7 figures in a heartbeat. that doesnt happen anymore, but the traders I know still make more than pretty much anyone and love their jobs the most.

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dingbat
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Re: law vs banking-which career is tougher?

Postby dingbat » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:12 pm

$$$$$$ wrote:
dingbat wrote:
$$$$$$ wrote:Investment Banks have trading floors, but traders are not investment bankers, and if you called a trader an investment banker they would probably be pissed off. Investment banking you will make a shit ton more money than as a lawyer. In the good years, after 2 years, many bankers would be hired by PE shops and get paid 2-3X as much 1st year associates make. It's harder to get these positions now, but I know people that have done it. To me, PE is more interesting than law because I like/miss numbers and you are the people (firm) actually taking on the risk/getting the reward of the deal. Banking can vary as too what you do (from underwriting/negotiating/crunching numbers/etc)

Also, whoever said traders are lower rung than Ibankers are morons. Trading is the most profitable wing of major investment banks and will probably continue to be since Volcker is a 500 page lobbyist's dream mess. Traders after their 2nd year make a % of what they earn, its all performance based and those people are probably some of the smartest i've ever met. People that are good traders will be making well over 1 mill by the time they are thirty. But trading is probably the most stressful job, my friends had no life for 2 years and at 25 want to quit and be musicians in brazil...shit burns you out.

This is both true, and as rosy as saying that lawyers start out by making $160k/year and many go on to being equity partners.


Too be fair, many do, just not at the firms that they were associates at. I firms I had interviewed with, many were v10 associates --> v100 partners. I don't know if you are referring to the trading stuff or Ibank to PE stuff, but most of my friends that were bankers now work in PE and their offers were usually for $350+ base first year PE. Trading is harder and I don't know as much, but I know in the old days hedge funds would eat up good traders and pay then 7 figures in a heartbeat. that doesnt happen anymore, but the traders I know still make more than pretty much anyone and love their jobs the most.
I'm not arguing that that didn't happen, or doesn't still happen, but you're implying that that is a likely outcome ("many") whereas I'm merely trying to point out that the average person in said careers doesn't do nearly as well.
Anecdotal, I can also refer to an IBer I worked with who made Director at a bulge bracket firm before he was 30, or the biglaw partners I know that were in their early to mid 30's.
But for every one who makes it that far, there are a lot more who fell by the wayside




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