BB IBD and top tier Lawfirm Comparison

Hi. I am soliciting valuable advice as I have to make my life's toughest decision. To give you guys a little bit of a background of mine, I graduated IVY league school undergrad, worked in a mid-size investment company, and am now in school doing my JD-MBA dual degree. I basically have two offers right now - NY BB IBD summer associate and NY V5 (i.e. band 1) law firm associate. My questions are as below:

  1. Which one would be better in terms of prestige, job stability, exit option, and hours (heard IB is more brutal but also law firm is miserable). 

  2. Which one is more plausible? Lawyer at 3rd~5th year moving to become an i-banker, or the other way around? 

I am not sure what to choose as I sort of want to do a little bit of both, and at the same time don't know well enough about them to make a swift decision. It's my first time posting in WSO, so apologize if I am not using any of the jargon here. Any advice and comments would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Comments (14)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 3, 2022 - 11:01am

1. Asking about what is more prestigious is just stupid. Banking will have better exit-ops and optionality. No idea about the hours - other users may have more info on this.

2. Lawyer to I-banker is easier. You see a lot of former lawyers move to the restructuring arms of independent advisory firms (Lazard, Moelis, PJT, CVP like doing this) but not the other way around. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 3, 2022 - 11:05am

Yeah sorry for the confusion. By "a lot", I meant yeah, it's basically the only pipeline for former corporate lawyers to work in IB. A few might go into M&A or other products, but it's much rarer than rx

Jul 4, 2022 - 1:02am
nychimp99, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Word. This.

I also know someone who picked Cravath over Credit Suisse (having summered there) but that was purely because the person does not want to be in either banking or law in the long term, and is going for prestige alumni status in their post-whatever career. Happy to chat if you want (Similar degree/background as you).

Jul 5, 2022 - 12:25am
CuriousCharacter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If they had said it was Wachtell how would your response have changed?

Jul 3, 2022 - 1:00pm
roger__sterling, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You're seriously outsourcing this decision to anonymous teenagers on WSO? Dude, the only person who can answer this is you. How have you made it this far and still don't know what you want to do? Eventually, you have to pick something and commit to it. Can't keep picking optionality forever. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 5, 2022 - 2:42pm

Are these median numbers, or do law firms not pay out performance bonuses.

  • Intern in HF - EquityHedge
Jul 4, 2022 - 2:14pm

equivalent in IB would be regional/global group head I assume. Or S&T global head of FICC etc.

Most Helpful
Jul 5, 2022 - 3:21pm
hba2013, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I mean, it's a finance forum, so I don't what answer you expect to get other than going the BB Associate route. Some more food for thought for you though:

Which one would be better in terms of prestige, job stability, exit option, and hours (heard IB is more brutal but also law firm is miserable). 

You'll have better job stability as a lawyer. You can cruise along at 1800 hours, be simply acceptable at your job and make it to 5th year Associate ($345 base salary) barring some catastrophic failure. Your exit opps will be law related but you might be able to spin your MBA into a business role. Law firm hours are rough, especially if you're at some V5 NY M&A or cap markets practice spinning some bullshit docs upon demand with a bunch of PE/finance clients. Expect to be available at weekends and at an hours notice. 

Which one is more plausible? Lawyer at 3rd~5th year moving to become an i-banker, or the other way around?

You'll likely never swing back to law after being a banker. You won't know anything, and will be too time consuming to train up and too expensive to bill out. 

Jul 5, 2022 - 3:47pm
hba2013, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Impedit sequi et officia voluptatem nemo. Vel deleniti non ut cupiditate dicta distinctio. Eum sunt asperiores atque adipisci esse vero. In quia quaerat nesciunt ut sunt repellendus ullam dolor.

Ducimus occaecati amet sed ea voluptatem. Maiores laboriosam quis doloribus vel. Corrupti delectus temporibus eum rem eum aut. Voluptatem doloremque voluptates quasi qui recusandae dolor. Nihil porro reprehenderit tempora quis eos quia quibusdam.

Start Discussion

Popular Content See all

Career Advancement Opportunities

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲05) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (= =) 99.2%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲09) 98.8%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲03) 98.4%
  • Macquarie Group Limited ABN (+ +) 98.0%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International (▲06) 99.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▲11) 99.2%
  • Greenhill (▲07) 98.8%
  • PJT Partners (▽03) 98.4%
  • Macquarie Group Limited ABN (▲22) 98.0%

Professional Growth Opportunities

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲06) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (▲03) 99.2%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲12) 98.8%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲05) 98.4%
  • William Blair (▽01) 98.0%

Total Avg Compensation

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $613
  • Vice President (37) $394
  • Associates (204) $256
  • 2nd Year Analyst (124) $163
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (17) $156
  • 1st Year Analyst (402) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (79) $147
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (304) $92