Dreams BigLaw/T14 worth leaving my Finance career?

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

Postby JJ123 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:50 pm

Borg wrote:
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.


Ok, so there's less pay security. But the pay is generally higher in investment banking. No one is paying $200k for 1st year associates in biglaw. That's all I was pointing out.

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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 6:04 pm

NYstate wrote: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.


I agree w/ this

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

Postby Borg » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:10 pm

JJ123 wrote:
Ok, so there's less pay security. But the pay is generally higher in investment banking. No one is paying $200k for 1st year associates in biglaw. That's all I was pointing out.


Sure, and I'm sorry because reading that now I came off as a dick and didn't mean to be. I just think that (1) people overestimate that differential and (2) need to look at the long game and not focus so much on temporary pay differential. Working in banking is even less sustainable for most people than a biglaw gig, and in-house corporate finance positions don't usually pay even close to investment banking. I think that for most people, going into law with substantial corporate experience and especially an MBA or CFA can be a huge jumping off point to the highest echelons of the corporate world. It's a good move with the right background.

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

Postby guano » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:47 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.

IB associates earn less than biglaw first years, pay scale for VP is roughly comparable to mid level biglaw associates. Pay for MD is roughly equivalent to equity partner at a top firm

Sure, there are exceptions, but by and large the differential is not that significant, unless you're talking about C level jobs.

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

Postby Bronte » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:54 pm

OP, people are right to question your reasons for wanting to do this and even to attempt to dissuade you. To that end, you need to think long and hard about why law and finance (which tends to be a fair description of big law, although it's always going to be much more about law) would be better for you than pure finance. But I disagree to the extent posters have suggested it's categorically not better than pure finance.

I studied finance in undergrad and decided to go to law school intent on working in big law. Although my situation is admittedly different than yours because I went straight through, I will give you the principal reason that I chose to go to law school: while I enjoyed numbers and financial analysis, I enjoy writing and qualitative analysis more. And I'm better at it. You should consider whether this is the case for you as well.

Also, you should know a little bit about how big law works. There are two main sides to big law: litigation and transactional. (The latter is often confusingly called "corporate.") Litigation at big law firms is business oriented and often finance oriented, but it is very far removed from financial analysis. It is very focused on legal procedure--jurisdiction, motions, evidence, depositions, etc. Transactional practice involves advising clients on deals, like mergers. It is closer to the finance side. But the principal business of transactional lawyers, at least at the lower levels, is dealing with transactional documents, i.e., long, often tedious contracts. Thus, neither of these practice areas necessary gives you the blend of law and finance that you might be looking for.

One area that big law firms practice is somewhat of a hybrid of the two: restructuring (a.k.a. corporate bankruptcy). I have so far found this to be the best niche for me, and the area of law that is most directly involved with finance theory. Bankruptcy is all about debt and capital structure. It really gets at the heart of what finance is all about. And it's one of the few areas where finance and the law directly collide, most saliently in the form of valuation battles in bankruptcy court. Still, it implicates all the writing, qualitative analysis, and procedural aspects of the law that are not typical of pure finance.

Good luck.




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