Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

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david.billa
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Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby david.billa » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:16 am

Hey yall,

I graduated from my undergraduate studies 3 years ago and I currently work for a Fortune 20 company as a financial analyst. For a while I have always wanted to go to law school and become some sort of a business attorney/corporate attorney dealing with restructuring, mergers, etc. Wanting this goal to possibly come true eventually I took the LSAT in my senior year of college and scored a 174 and I managed to graduate with a 3.72 overall GPA with a degree in Accounting.

I am hoping to matriculate Fall of 2014 so I will have a decent amount of work experience, solid rec letters, as well as pretty good numbers. The problem is I don't know if this is worth giving up my career route in the financial services industry. I am 24 and currently make around the 75-80k range with limited opportunities to grow without an MBA, but plenty of opportunities to transition to other roles at other companies so I figure if I decide to duke it out with law school I will be able to make almost twice as much upon graduating from law school if I hopefully land a Big Law gig of some sort at age 27-28.

The dilemma here is that I don't know if its ultimately worth it on the ROI to go back to school with a decent thing going on now. Everyone tells me to avoid law school like the plague but I figured with my numbers and experience I could manage to get into a pretty good program, but the last thing I want to happen is leave my current job and then go to law school only to find out that Big Law was too much of a unrealistic goal than I thought.

I apologize if this post was long! I would really appreciate any insight, feedback, words of wisdom.

Thanks :D

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englawyer
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby englawyer » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:15 am

your #'s are T14 worthy, probably even T6 and with your work experience, you will get a boost at OCI. i would guess that it is worth it in a pure $$$ sense, but keep in mind you are making a quality of life tradeoff as well, since law firms will work you much harder than a typical F500 company.

NYstate
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby NYstate » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:15 am

What do you know about the life of a biglaw attorney? Why is this your dream?

I would not advise someone with your experience and job to go to law school. If you are going to make biglaw money, remember that biglaw lawyers for the most part make their highest salaries the first few years after graduation.

badaboom61
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby badaboom61 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:18 am

Also remember that biglaw has very high attrition. A huge fraction of the lawyers who go into biglaw leave within 3-5 years. Consider what you might try to do after that. I would think that law school would most likely be a fairly terrible return on investment for someone in your position.

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Lwoods
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby Lwoods » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:38 am

Financially, it'd probably make more sense to stay in finance. You could set aside 1/3 to 1/2 of your salary for three years, investing it instead, and watch your money make money, so even if you aren't making $160k in a finance job by 28 (which you could be), your net worth is still likely going to be greater by not taking 3 years off. Also, not only do you lose 3 years of earning a generous salary, but there's no guarantee you'll land a BigLaw position.

Your numbers are really good, though, which positions you well for admittance to a school that places well in BigLaw, and as a financial analyst, you're likely used to hard work and long hours, which is good preparation for the work you'll want to do in law school to earn BigLaw grades. As a previous poster mentioned, BigLaw firms will also like your finance background come OCI.

So, assume for a moment that the job market issue isn't an issue. What do you WANT to do? You only get one life, and money isn't everything. Do you know what BigLaw attorneys do? What fueled your interest in the first place? I think you should set up coffee meetings with attorneys to try to get a feel for the work and determine if it's something you want to pursue. Talk to a few different people, too. BigLaw does have a high attrition rate, but many people also go into it because they can, it allows them to pay off their loans, and it provides exit options--all perfectly valid reasons, but also all likely to contribute to that attrition rate.

Good luck with your decision!

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jn7
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby jn7 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:09 am

I might be stating the obvious, but I think it depends on your prioritization. If it's mostly money, then it's probably not a good idea to change considering you will likely do outstanding on the GMAT --> great MBA program with your work experience etc. If you do not enjoy what you're doing and truly want a career change, then law school is definitely a viable option. You'll probably get a good scholarship at a good school with your numbers. You're really in a strong position IMO.

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guano
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby guano » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:30 am

Have you considered getting a CFA? It's a very cost-effective way to take your career to the next level.
If you do go to law school, CCN with money, HYS, or don't go

I quit a finance job to go to law school, dropped out and I'm working in finance again. Feel free to PM me with any questions you may have.

JJ123
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby JJ123 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:44 am

Part-time MBA seems to make more sense to me. If I were in your position, and reasonably enjoyed my job, I wouldn't think of leaving without a full-ride scholarship to a top 14 school. Even then, I'd be leaning MBA.

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Gunnar Stahl
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby Gunnar Stahl » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:14 am

JJ123 wrote:Part-time MBA seems to make more sense to me. If I were in your position, and reasonably enjoyed my job, I wouldn't think of leaving without a full-ride scholarship to a top 14 school. Even then, I'd be leaning MBA.

Yup.

Honestly, I think you'd be pretty foolish to give up an 80k job to go to law school, even a T14.

Even if you got biglaw, you'd probably be gone within 4 years, probably making the same as what you'd be making if you hadn't left to go to law school.

You also don't seem to really want to be a lawyer, and you are only in it for the money.

JJ123
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby JJ123 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:22 am

Why not MBA and then investment banker? You'll get paid more than big law.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:46 am

Its silly to make a blanket statement about leaving a $75-80K/year position for law school. Its perfectly worth it if you actually want to be an attorney. As another poster mentioned, money cant be everything in your life. If practicing law is actually a goal for you, then you will need a JD.

There are a set of 13ish schools where you could graduate at median and get a large firm job doing corporate work. I think it would be perfectly reasonable for you to attend, IF you wanted to practice law.

If money is your only object (which to many people in finance, it might sadly be), then go to M7 MBA. They will still be impressed by your LSAT score. If you want to practice law (read: not make more money, but have the license for that type of work), then enjoy CCN w/ $$. You wont get a full ride due to your GPA, but you can significantly reduce the cost, and you'll certainly have some savings from your current position.

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stillwater
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby stillwater » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:48 am

i just came here to ask: who dreams of biglaw? sounds nightmarish

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jingosaur
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby jingosaur » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:49 am

I'm in a similar position as you. I will say that it's completely not worth it unless you can't see yourself doing your current job long term and your exit options at your current job are highly undesirable. The grass isn't greener on the other side.

That being said, I think that TLS really overestimates the value of an MBA although it is a very viable option in your position (once again, only if you want a career change and only if you get into a top school). It almost never makes sense to go to law school from our position through a cost-benefit analysis, but it can be very beneficial if you see your career going down a dead-end rocky road and you want to get out and try something new.

I would like to hear some input from someone who had a job similar to this and has already gotten a law degree.

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Borg
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby Borg » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:57 am

I think it depends completely on your goals long term, but you can do this very debt consciously and come out quite well I think. Your numbers will be extremely competitive for scholarships at certain schools. You can probably get full rides at some lower T-14s, and may even get serious money as high as NYU or Chicago. From your position, I think it certainly wouldn't be a bad thing to have a free law degree from Northwestern.

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guano
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby guano » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:30 pm

JJ123 wrote:Why not MBA and then investment banker? You'll get paid more than big law.

Most people I know who went into ibanking make considerably less

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Lwoods
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby Lwoods » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:31 pm

goldbh7 wrote:...
That being said, I think that TLS really overestimates the value of an MBA although it is a very viable option in your position (once again, only if you want a career change and only if you get into a top school).

...


Yes. TBF, we're law students, so we see education as a means of advancing one's career, but an MBA probably isn't worth it to continue a career in finance / business. My most successful friends put in their time in analyst and auditor positions before jumping ship to take high-ranking positions at start-ups. I worked briefly for the M&A group of one the big banks. Some had MBAs (one of my friends had worked in computer science prior and then got his MBA from Wharton when he decided he wanted to switch careers). Others rose through the ranks (including a director who used to be an actor and had started at the bank as an administrative temp). You have to have a JD to practice law in this country. You don't have to have an MBA, though, to succeed in business.

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david.billa
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby david.billa » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:32 pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone I really appreciate it. For those of you interested in why big law because for one having a business background big law seemed the closest thing to the business services/finance industry I'm in now and also because its outside of the business industry. That being said I do not expect to stay in corporate finance all my life I would like to transition myself into a different career path with similar conventions as my current path.

My sister in law also works as a junior litigator at a big law firm in SF and from what she tells me she enjoys it a lot and although a lot of people don't enjoy the work itself, to me researching and putting data together sounds awesome and not to mention that is somewhat similar to what I do right now! Although the money is great I'm not in it for the dough as the top reason but more of the nature of the work (at least litigation) and the exit opportunities. Money is more of a bonus incentive. I mean I am living well with my current salary now.

I understand that big law people only work 2-5 years so beyond that I was thinking to jump ship to in house at a Fortune 500 company, hell maybe the one I work at now!

I was thinking about taking the GMAT and then applying to a jd/MBA program (specifically northwestern) but I don't known if that's worth the £££ based on feedback here. But with those to degrees at least I still have my business career path still open as an option with the MBA while the law opportunity door opening as well. Any thoughs on this route?


Again I appreciate your feedback!

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david.billa
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby david.billa » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:33 pm

.

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jingosaur
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby jingosaur » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:50 pm

david.billa wrote:I was thinking about taking the GMAT and then applying to a jd/MBA program (specifically northwestern) but I don't known if that's worth the £££ based on feedback here.


This is what I'm doing. Northwestern is one of a few schools that I'm gunning for. JD/MBAs are expensive as hell. The 3 year programs cost the same as 4 year programs so it's not like you're getting a free MBA. For it to be worth it, you really have to have legitimate reasons to get both degrees.

buster
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby buster » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:52 pm

I think it doesn't hurt to apply, get your acceptances, and THEN weigh your options. JD/MBA doesn't sound like a bad idea either.

If you'd like to gain an understanding of (and actively participate in) the legal side of the finance world, joining the corporate department of a big law firm is a great experience. While I have many friends who are hating their lives in biglaw, I happen to be enjoying mine (I'm in the corporate department of a large law firm). It's true the hours are difficult, but I wouldn't trade it for another job. Just throwing this out there to let you know there ARE actually people out there who don't hate their biglaw jobs.

Redfactor
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby Redfactor » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:05 pm

.
Last edited by Redfactor on Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Borg
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby Borg » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:16 pm

I got a JD/MBA and really am happy with my decision. You need to be sure that you're going to come out with lucrative options though or have a scholarship for one of the schools. Agree with Guano, the people who reflexively say "OMG GO 2 IBANK N GET MODELZ AND BOTTLEZ" don't know what they are talking about. Think really long term with this decision before you jump into anything.

NYstate
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby NYstate » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:43 pm

Your reasoning makes no sense to me. Why would you spend years in school and hundreds of thousands of dollars when you have a solid career path. You should not go to law school or any school until you figure this out more.

Law school is very stressful, expensive and ultimately a gamble for almost everyone. Look at how stressed people are about grades, getting SAs, getting a job, and then keeping a job. On top of that biglaw is a demanding job in an industry that still seems to be shaking itself out.

Don't kid yourself. There are people from top schools who don't get biglaw. It is uncertain at best.

You would be making a huge mistake.

Edit to add: in case your LSAT score is a reason you want to go, you should know that people with high LSATs and better career options often choose the other option. A main reason high scorers go to law school is because it is the only viable career path open to them. Lots of the high scorers on this forum have no other prospects for a "real" job and see the biglaw starting salary, so they take the gamble of attending law school.

JJ123
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby JJ123 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:58 pm

guano wrote:
JJ123 wrote:Why not MBA and then investment banker? You'll get paid more than big law.

Most people I know who went into ibanking make considerably less


The pay scales at top investment banks are higher than top law firms.

You may be comparing the lower end of investment banking to the upper end of law.

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Borg
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Re: Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

Postby Borg » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:41 pm

JJ123 wrote:
guano wrote:
JJ123 wrote:Why not MBA and then investment banker? You'll get paid more than big law.

Most people I know who went into ibanking make considerably less


The pay scales at top investment banks are higher than top law firms.

You may be comparing the lower end of investment banking to the upper end of law.


Oh, you mean at the banks where bonuses are commonly "withheld" so people are often just getting base salaries and have to stay for x amount of months more to figure out what their actual compensation is? Banking is a mess right now and compensation is not that straightforward anymore. A first year associate at a bulge bracket bank will probably make around 200, but much of that is discretionary bonus, and the increase from year to year isn't nearly what it once was. BTW, I'm working in finance and often think about how nice the pay security of law actually is, and I know people who left law firms, got MBAs, and then went back into law because it's actually a pretty sweet deal.




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