Stay in Investment Banking or Go for Law?

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hvepassion123123

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Stay in Investment Banking or Go for Law?

Post by hvepassion123123 » Sat May 23, 2020 3:05 am

Hi all,

I a currently first year investment banking analyst specializing in debt capital markets at a bulge bracket bank in New York.

The past ten months of working in finance has been difficult for me to say the least, primarily because I find the work mind-numbingly dull and unexciting, coupled with a bad/high stress culture and long hours.

My strong suit has always been in the humanities and I've never been nimble with numbers (never even took anything past pre-calc). However having attended an Ivy League undergraduate, I was motivated to go into finance mainly because of many of my high-achieving peers were as well and because the $$$ was good (golden handcuffs).

These days I've been thinking about law school increasingly - I really enjoyed my college first amendment class and find analyzing cases/legal precedents extremely interesting. My family is by no means filthy rich but my parents could support law school expenses if I get into a T-5 law school (though I would feel guilty and pay them back for sure).

Am I being too idealistic about law? It seems that the consensus is that BigLaw is where most top law school students would want to end up, I'm guessing primarily because of the financial security and perceived prestige. I work with a lot of corporate lawyers at Skadden/Cravath/Cahill and their work is more tedious and boring that mine (though given that investment grade finance is generally a dull field). I don't think I would want to do what they do at all, I think in that case I may as well stay in Banking and make more money.

So I guess I was hoping to hear the experiences of those of you on TLS. If you are doing BigLaw, what is it like and do you genuinely enjoy it or do you want to blow your brains out? Did you go into it because of the money and prestige? If you had the choice to earn the same amount of money straight out of college in some other white collar profession, would you have forfeited going to law school?

And for those of you who are not in BigLaw, what are you doing and do you find it fulfilling?

Thanks in advance for anyone who can opine and offer some insight.

Elbble

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Re: Stay in Investment Banking or Go for Law?

Post by Elbble » Sat May 23, 2020 9:51 am

well, if you're interested in "analyzing cases/legal precedent" then what you'd want to do is litigation, not corporate (the latter is what the Cravath/Skadden guys that you interact with do, and I'd agree with you that it's tedious and awful, and absolutely not worth trading in your current job for). I know a bunch of people with your profile - ibanking for a few years straight out of college, then law school. The happy ones that I know are litigators, mostly focusing on complicated financial litigation, where they have some concrete knowledge to contribute from their time as ibankers. This is anecdotal, but the ibankers I know are considerably happier than the corporate lawyers, and considerably less happy than the litigators.

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Yugihoe

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Re: Stay in Investment Banking or Go for Law?

Post by Yugihoe » Sat May 23, 2020 1:36 pm

Right, I personally would not do it. Will let a litigator chime in, but as one of these corporate lawyers referenced above, it is absolutely more tedious and my colleagues regularly wish they went to business school and/or into banking instead.

objctnyrhnr

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Re: Stay in Investment Banking or Go for Law?

Post by objctnyrhnr » Sat May 23, 2020 3:25 pm

Midlevel market-paying biglaw lit associate chiming in. There are a number of stressful aspects of the job, but day to day intellectually I enjoy what I do at least 80% of the time. My lit peers feel similarly (at least the ones at high level shops), and my transactional peers generally do not. Take from that what you will. I do Spend a lot of time analyzing precedent (or more specifically, the extent to which a given case should or should not be deemed precedent in a dispositive motion), and it is fairly stimulating.

muskman

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Re: Stay in Investment Banking or Go for Law?

Post by muskman » Sun May 24, 2020 8:09 pm

Yugihoe wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:36 pm
Right, I personally would not do it. Will let a litigator chime in, but as one of these corporate lawyers referenced above, it is absolutely more tedious and my colleagues regularly wish they went to business school and/or into banking instead.
Yes. OP, please specify if you would enter law school it ending to practice transactional law or become a litigator. That is a determinant on the response you should receive.

Re: Yugihoe, that attitude towards b school/banking is common but wholly unrealistic. Most people, even at Ivy League schools, were never on track for ibanking or buy side finance. They lacked the grades, major, and networking to get in the door, let alone develop a resume and story for an M7 MBA. Given that limitation, more should accept their 6-7 figure annual income in the V50 and be grateful.

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Yugihoe

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Re: Stay in Investment Banking or Go for Law?

Post by Yugihoe » Sun May 24, 2020 9:04 pm

muskman wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 8:09 pm
Yugihoe wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:36 pm
Right, I personally would not do it. Will let a litigator chime in, but as one of these corporate lawyers referenced above, it is absolutely more tedious and my colleagues regularly wish they went to business school and/or into banking instead.
Yes. OP, please specify if you would enter law school it ending to practice transactional law or become a litigator. That is a determinant on the response you should receive.

Re: Yugihoe, that attitude towards b school/banking is common but wholly unrealistic. Most people, even at Ivy League schools, were never on track for ibanking or buy side finance. They lacked the grades, major, and networking to get in the door, let alone develop a resume and story for an M7 MBA. Given that limitation, more should accept their 6-7 figure annual income in the V50 and be grateful.
Right, I only referenced it so OP could get a sense of what most people feel and thought it would be helpful to OP who ACTUALLY can go the banking route.

Whether these corporate biglaw people are justified or not is an entirely different matter, and moreover, it's not a dichotomy that just because they could not get into an m7 school, that they should be happy with their biglaw stint. I think as a general matter more people should work before law school. The flip side of that argument, that the same very people make, is that they mostly have shitty job opportunities available with their history/poly sci degrees, so I definitely sympathize. It's hard when you've got to make life lasting decisions when you're just an 18 year old in college.

hvepassion123123

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Re: Stay in Investment Banking or Go for Law?

Post by hvepassion123123 » Sun May 24, 2020 9:08 pm

Thanks for the replies all!

I definitely don't think I want to do transactional law - from what I can tell in these cases, the bankers are at the forefront of structuring and closing the deal, with the lawyers playing an equally as important but more ancillary role of making sure the legal aspect is down pat. In those cases, I would rather do the business side of things and it would make more sense for me to stay in finance/go to business school/pursue some other business-related field.

I think litigation sounds better for me. I also am interested in working for NGOs and public interest fields.

hvepassion123123

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Re: Stay in Investment Banking or Go for Law?

Post by hvepassion123123 » Sun May 24, 2020 9:14 pm

Thanks for the replies all!

I definitely don't think I want to do transactional law - from what I can tell in these cases, the bankers are at the forefront of structuring and closing the deal, with the lawyers playing an equally as important but more ancillary role of making sure the legal aspect is down pat. In those cases, I would rather do the business side of things and it would make more sense for me to stay in finance/go to business school/pursue some other business-related field.

I think litigation sounds better for me. I also am interested in working for NGOs and public interest fields.

muskman

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Re: Stay in Investment Banking or Go for Law?

Post by muskman » Sun May 24, 2020 10:13 pm

Yugihoe wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 9:04 pm
muskman wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 8:09 pm
Yugihoe wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:36 pm
Right, I personally would not do it. Will let a litigator chime in, but as one of these corporate lawyers referenced above, it is absolutely more tedious and my colleagues regularly wish they went to business school and/or into banking instead.
Yes. OP, please specify if you would enter law school it ending to practice transactional law or become a litigator. That is a determinant on the response you should receive.

Re: Yugihoe, that attitude towards b school/banking is common but wholly unrealistic. Most people, even at Ivy League schools, were never on track for ibanking or buy side finance. They lacked the grades, major, and networking to get in the door, let alone develop a resume and story for an M7 MBA. Given that limitation, more should accept their 6-7 figure annual income in the V50 and be grateful.
Right, I only referenced it so OP could get a sense of what most people feel and thought it would be helpful to OP who ACTUALLY can go the banking route.

Whether these corporate biglaw people are justified or not is an entirely different matter, and moreover, it's not a dichotomy that just because they could not get into an m7 school, that they should be happy with their biglaw stint. I think as a general matter more people should work before law school. The flip side of that argument, that the same very people make, is that they mostly have shitty job opportunities available with their history/poly sci degrees, so I definitely sympathize. It's hard when you've got to make life lasting decisions when you're just an 18 year old in college.
Yes. Law School Transparency and ABA disclosures should be required for every college and each major offered. Although the information provided isn’t perfect, it is baffling 18 year olds can make decisions (financial and personal) with such asymmetric data.

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