Interviewing for Investment Banking out of Law School

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chancecooley

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Interviewing for Investment Banking out of Law School

Post by chancecooley » Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:04 pm

I want to interview for an associate position at an investment bank. I will be coming out of a top 4 law school and wanted to know what my chances are of getting a position at a top firm. I will be K-JD and understand that not having previous experience in corporate finance is certainly not a plus.

If grades and technical knowledge are solid, is it just a matter of getting your foot in the door? What is the best way to go about pursuing a career at an investment bank or out of law school? Do recruiters from different firms look for potential hires at the law school?

Any advice would be appreciated, whether it be in regards to networking, interview prep, or perhaps a summer internship before applying as a summer associate the second year of law school (as I understand is the typical path for a law student looking to go into finance).

Also, if you know someone who went this route, any advice or information about their particular path would be appreciated.

QContinuum

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Re: Interviewing for Investment Banking out of Law School

Post by QContinuum » Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:13 pm

Your post suggests you're a 0L. If that's the case, I'd strongly recommend not matriculating to law school. There's no clear path from law school to i-banking - it's something you basically never see (except for JD/MBAs, and the JD part of that joint degree doesn't really help in that case). You should, instead, pursue an MBA.

(Not that it's particularly relevant, but there's also not really a "top 4 law school" grouping. Presumably "top 4" means Yale/Stanford/Harvard/Chicago, but Chicago's close enough in placement power to Columbia and NYU on the one hand, and far enough from Yale on the other hand, that it really doesn't make sense to define a "YSHC" clique.)

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Sackboy

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Re: Interviewing for Investment Banking out of Law School

Post by Sackboy » Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:22 pm

As QC noted, if you do not want to be a lawyer, do no go to law school. In other words, do not matriculate into law school if you want an IB gig. Go work in finance for a few years, go to a M7 MBA program, and then enjoy you relatively easy route to a BB IB or an elite boutique. Law school is a terrible and circuitous way to backdoor into IB, and most of my friends who did it had previous finance experience before law school or were JD-MBA folks.

Also, saying you're going to "a top 4 law school" is a long winded way to say U of C.

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: Interviewing for Investment Banking out of Law School

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:57 am

If grades and technical knowledge are solid, is it just a matter of getting your foot in the door?
Yes - the problem is that there is no way of getting your foot in the door unless you were already a viable candidate before law school (in which case the JD program was a huge waste). Did you go to a target undergrad, OP? Do you have any actual experience in a finance role, even an internship?
What is the best way to go about pursuing a career at an investment bank or out of law school?
Change your enrollment to JD/MBA or, if that isn't an option, drop out of law school and start an MBA.
Do recruiters from different firms look for potential hires at the law school?
No, unless they get lost on their way from a morning meeting at the undergrad college to an afternoon one at the b-school.
QContinuum wrote:(Not that it's particularly relevant, but there's also not really a "top 4 law school" grouping. Presumably "top 4" means Yale/Stanford/Harvard/Chicago, but Chicago's close enough in placement power to Columbia and NYU on the one hand, and far enough from Yale on the other hand, that it really doesn't make sense to define a "YSHC" clique.)
Also, I'm pretty sure Columbia is tied with Chicago in the latest USNews rankings, which makes the notion of a top 4 even more incoherent.

There are a lot of niches where a random T14 is strong enough that you can lump it in with HYS for your top tier: HYS/Berkeley, for California biglaw; HYS/NYU, for elite public-interest gigs. HYS/Chicago makes sense for certain things, like clerkships/academia (although I think Chicago is a noticeable step behind on the latter), but investment banking is not one of them.

objctnyrhnr

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Re: Interviewing for Investment Banking out of Law School

Post by objctnyrhnr » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:25 pm

You might be conflating the viability of going from top LS to a Mckinsey or the like (consulting) which is a path (albeit not a particularly advisable one IMO), with going into I banking from LS which really doesn’t happen (though you could probably fine some exceptions). By the time you take your 1L torts exam, you’ve probably missed the boat.

I suppose one alternative idea is to get in-house at a bank and try to transition but even that seems a weird role to take if you want to I bank.

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chancecooley

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Re: Interviewing for Investment Banking out of Law School

Post by chancecooley » Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:21 pm

I do not have any corporate finance experience, no. But I was under the impression alot of people switch in from other industries after they get an MBA or something. I do have manaement experience. I apologize about the "top 4" comment. I wouldn't have even mentioned a ranking - I only used this as I thought it might be important to my question about interviewing for non-legal employment coming out of a solid law school.

As far as the consulting path goes, why wouldn't you recommend that path?

As far as banking or consulting goes, I know that knowledge of finance, management and excel is certainly a barrier to entry, but I think a law degree is much more intensive and rigorous than an MBA. Would a law degree not be something employers found useful in other industries?
For example, I understand at an investment bank they wouldn't want to hire a law grad with no experience. But would having the law degree and all the skills that come with it not be an advantage and give you an edge of some sort? Not just talking about investment banks here; any insight into interviewing for non-legal positions would be appreciated.

I enjoy the law school material and would like to get a law degree for the education and critical thinking skills that come with it. I am just not deadset on practicing law is all, and am trying to get some information about using your degree to get into other lines of work. Thanks Again

$$$$$$

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Re: Interviewing for Investment Banking out of Law School

Post by $$$$$$ » Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:05 pm

chancecooley wrote:I do not have any corporate finance experience, no. But I was under the impression alot of people switch in from other industries after they get an MBA or something. I do have manaement experience. I apologize about the "top 4" comment. I wouldn't have even mentioned a ranking - I only used this as I thought it might be important to my question about interviewing for non-legal employment coming out of a solid law school.

As far as the consulting path goes, why wouldn't you recommend that path?

As far as banking or consulting goes, I know that knowledge of finance, management and excel is certainly a barrier to entry, but I think a law degree is much more intensive and rigorous than an MBA. Would a law degree not be something employers found useful in other industries?
For example, I understand at an investment bank they wouldn't want to hire a law grad with no experience. But would having the law degree and all the skills that come with it not be an advantage and give you an edge of some sort? Not just talking about investment banks here; any insight into interviewing for non-legal positions would be appreciated.

I enjoy the law school material and would like to get a law degree for the education and critical thinking skills that come with it. I am just not deadset on practicing law is all, and am trying to get some information about using your degree to get into other lines of work. Thanks Again
Don't go to law school it would be a complete waste of your time. Investment banks do not value a law degree at all. My friends that went into banking did so after working in biglaw for years and hating it and they were JD/MBAs or just really, really personable and smart and had top grades and top firms. Even then, I only know 3 people total that have been able to make the switch.

People in finance think lawyers can't do math. I interviewed for an investment bank in law school after hours of networking and quant. prep. Even then, I was pretty much told the only reason they were interviewing me was the the MD liked me and they were doing him a favor, but no way they were hiring a 3L out of law school.

Go do something else, go get an MBA from a top school and you'll be far more marketable to every industry than you would be with a law degree.

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Sackboy

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Re: Interviewing for Investment Banking out of Law School

Post by Sackboy » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:16 am

chancecooley wrote:But I was under the impression alot of people switch in from other industries after they get an MBA or something.
People do make the switch from other industries into IB after an MBA. A law degree is not an MBA. It is not a career changer/pivot degree. It's a degree to prepare you to practice law, and that's what the exit options reflect.
chancecooley wrote: I think a law degree is much more intensive and rigorous than an MBA. Would a law degree not be something employers found useful in other industries?
A law degree probably is more intensive and rigorous than an MBA, but that doesn't matter. Nobody needs a team member with legal knowledge. That's what they have in-house lawyers for or why they hire outside counsel from big law firms. Legal skills are valued by employers, but those employers are legal service providers, whether that be in-house or firm side. Consulting firms and investment banks are not legal service providers.
chancecooley wrote:For example, I understand at an investment bank they wouldn't want to hire a law grad with no experience. But would having the law degree and all the skills that come with it not be an advantage and give you an edge of some sort? Not just talking about investment banks here; any insight into interviewing for non-legal positions would be appreciated.
No. See my previous comment. Your skills are only useful to the extent that they help you provide legal services, which banks and consulting firms aren't in the business of. All a law degree prepares you for is to work as a consultant's or banker's attorney. The most creative you can get is joining a compliance department. Again, you won't be consulting or banking. You'll be making sure the organization that employs the consultants and bankers are compliant with laws.
chancecooley wrote:I enjoy the law school material and would like to get a law degree for the education and critical thinking skills that come with it. I am just not deadset on practicing law is all, and am trying to get some information about using your degree to get into other lines of work. Thanks Again
A law degree is a professional degree. If you want to join that profession, you get that degree. If you don't want to join that profession, you don't get that degree. You don't go to culinary school because you "enjoy the culinary material" but aren't "dead set on practicing" cooking for a living. You go to culinary school to become a chef. If you just want to dabble and engage your critical thinking, you're more than welcome to watch Youtube videos, read legal publications, and buy yourself some casebooks. Only attend law school if you can only imagine yourself practicing law.

Sounds like you should just go work and then get an MBA.

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cavalier1138

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Re: Interviewing for Investment Banking out of Law School

Post by cavalier1138 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:58 am

chancecooley wrote:I enjoy the law school material and would like to get a law degree for the education and critical thinking skills that come with it. I am just not deadset on practicing law is all, and am trying to get some information about using your degree to get into other lines of work.
Don't go to law school. Despite what boomers will tell you about the flexibility of the degree, a JD is only helpful if you want to practice law. You don't want to practice law, so don't get a JD.

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