PWP LA vs Lazard LA
Hey all, sophomore (not from LA) interested in recruiting for LA down the line. There's been a lot of information on this forum about Moelis LA as well as the more prominent LA BB groups (CS/MS/Barclays), but if someone can add some more insight into PWP and Lazard LA that'd be greatly appreciated!
LA banker here, familiar with both groups, so I can provide some insight.
Lazard LA is around 35-40 people split across Aerospace & Defense and Interactive Media & Gaming. I believe analysts are staffed across both verticals. Both groups have been historically pretty strong, with A&D making a killing on MM sponsor-related deals and Media working on a lot of M&A, strategic advisory, and growth capital deals. The former office head (who was more involved on the interactive tech/media side) left for JPM in 2020, but the office reloaded by hiring a really strong senior, and deal flow in media and gaming has been really good (if you're interested in the media and gaming space the office is probably one of the best in terms of getting interesting deal experience). A&D lost one of their rainmakers to PWP just earlier this year, which has really affected their deal flow and momentum. They still have a solid senior bench, but the practice is definitely not as strong as it used to be. Culturally, I've heard the A&D side tends to be pretty fratty, while the media side tends to be a bit more buttoned-up. The seniors are great in both (media senior is a great guy, the A&D rainmaker who went to PWP was an amazing senior from what I've heard), and people are generally pretty nice, but both sides do sweat and get grinded. Historically, the office brings on 3 summer analysts each year, from what I've heard, and I think 2 are filled in the accelerated/diversity recruiting process. Exits have been solid historically with a handful MF and mostly top West-coast UMM and MMs.
PWP LA is pretty new office founded in 2017 by seniors from BofA, and has ~25 people now. The office used to be purely industrials (focused on E&C, industrial services, environmental services, multi-industrials), but PWP's really been focused on growing out the office and hired 3 new partners in the past year (one focusing on A&D as mentioned earlier, one focused on P&U and energy transition who is apparently a huge baller in the space, and one focused on software/internet). From what I've heard, although the P&U senior will be collaborating with TPH, all deals out of the office will be staffed within the office and won't be outsourced, so analysts will a really diverse experience across very different verticals. Culture in the group is good, with really chill people. Where Lazard LA is a bit frattier, PWP LA definitely gives off a bit more of an intellectual "nerdy" vibe driven by both seniors and the deal flow. The seniors (especially the ones from BofA) are known to get their hands dirty in the modelling all the time. The office also tends to focus a bit more on mid- to large-cap deals often involving long-time public clients, so the modelling work tends to be more technical, although I'm sure the Lazard A&D partner will still be focusing on more MM-level deals. The office is really lean, so when things get busy things get sweaty. The SA class size is 4 I believe, but given the expansion in senior headcount, I can imagine the analyst class expanding to 5 or even 6 in the next recruiting cycle. Exits have also been solid historically, although slightly below Lazard LA given PWP LA is a newer and smaller office.
Overall, both offices are great. Lazard LA has historically been the more established office, but over the past 2 years they've faced a surprising amount of senior turnover given how stable they were pre-2020. PWP LA is newer and currently smaller, but they're a really fast growing office and I've heard rumors that future expansion in the works might bring their headcount up to 40-50 people (they're also moving into a much larger physical office from what I've heard). The offices are focused on different industries, with PWP's experience likely becoming a bit more of a "generalist" experience (across Industrials, Tech, and P&U) as the new seniors ramp up while Lazard LA doesn't really have any plans to expand industry coverage. Culture is great across both offices, but both groups are very hardworking so don't choose them for lifestyle over any other LA groups. In terms of exits, Lazard's traditionally been a bit better better given they're more established and had larger analyst classes, but you'll be getting the same looks from both groups.
Both groups are pretty hard to recruit into though. Although PWP LA will likely be expanding their class size in the near future, PWP LA is very UCLA/USC/Wharton-heavy and look for people with LA roots, so make sure to network to have a chance at breaking in. Lazard LA is a bit more open to other schools and has more diverse undergraduate/geographic representation, but they've traditionally reserved 2/3 spots for their accelerated recruitment process, and I don't think they'll be expanding their SA class size in the future as the office as a whole isn't in growth-mode like PWP LA is. Obviously, if you're interested in LA banking, you should be networking with and recruiting for both groups. Hope this helps!
Lazard LA alum here, and can echo most of this. Laz LA has undergone some turnover at the top since I left (RIP to Lazard LA for losing Steve, man was awesome as a dealmaker and as a person to work with), but they'll survive. Haven't followed PWP LA's recent senior hires too closely, but sounds like it'll definitely be an interesting office from the junior perspective, getting staffed across industrials/tech/P&U. PWP will probably be the closest thing to a generalist junior experience in LA besides Moelis.
Just curious, I know that Moelis LA is generalist but what industries does the deal flow tend to lean towards?
Seems pretty accurate, but wouldn't necessarily agree that Lazard LA is more diverse in terms of undergrad recruiting lol. They still fill the vast majority of their SA class from USC/UCLA.
Also there's a pretty large surfing culture across both offices.
Laz LA's analyst class representation is basically all USC and UCLA, wouldn't say they're more diverse lol.
Doesn't appear true... per LinkedIn, only 1/3rd of their current/incoming analysts went to USC/UCLA and less than half even went to school in California.
PWP LA up to 5 partners + 1 MD now.
A bit unrelated to Lazard & PWP, but thoughts on BofA LA? Especially in terms of exits?
Just curious, why does LA seem to have such a large A&D IB presence? LA doesn't seem like it'd be a very A&D-focused city.
Jefferies Quarterdeck had an office in LA and used to be one of the strongest players in A&D, but a few years after Jefferies bought Quarterdeck most of the top rainmakers had left for one reason or another. Laz (and now PWP) LA's A&D players are all ex-Quarterdeck LA.
Most of the big aerospace companies have significant presences - Northrop Grumman's aero division is based there. I'm not sure about the history of it, but I'd imagine a lot of it is legacy from WWII and there's a bunch of active military installations between LA and San Diego.
Correct, LA to SD, up the SB (vandenberg is a massive missile and rocket launch site)inland to also massive Edwards AFB, which isn't too far from the Nevada test and dev sites including Area 51, etc. Old historical presence here, major players include Northrop, JPL, Raytheon, Boeing, and many others.
LA has a pretty big defense and space scene.
The LA Airforce Base in El Segundo is home to the Space Systems Command which does all the R&D of US military space-related systems. Because of this, defense contractors like Boeing, Raytheon, and Northrup Grumman (among others) have a major presence in the South Bay, hence why SpaceX is based in Hawthorne. The historical relationship goes back to pre-WWII actually. In fact, I think as much as half the entire US aerospace industry was LA-based until the 70s. Hughes Aircraft (now Raytheon), Lockheed (Lockheed Martin), and Douglas Aircraft (of McDonnell Douglas, now Boeing) were all founded in the greater LA area. A lot of the early growth was because of the talent coming out of CalTech which was one of few schools in the US with an aeronautics program at that time.
Great deal experience from both places. Lazard LA's a lot of MM-oriented deals on the A&D side, and MM-mid-cap M&A, capital raises, and "strategic advisory" (eg. helping studios form partnerships with other studios) on the interactive media side. PWP LA has traditionally been whale-hunters (focused on large-cap and mid-cap M&A) as well as "strategic advisory" for long-time blue-chip clients. That being said, PWP's new partners will likely change things up. The ex-JPM P&U partner will probably add large-cap advisory (for P&U clients) in-line with the office's current deal flow, but the A&D partner will likely churn out a lot of MM-oriented A&D deals like he did at Lazard while the new tech partner will probably also bring a lot more growth-oriented cap raises in addition to M&A.
Do you know if Laz LA was handling the CAES/Veritas deal?
Given PWP LA's diversification do you think analysts will remain generalists?
Does Lazard LA cross-staff with the A&D franchise in Lazard NY?
Not really, and the A&D franchise in NY is very small and weak compared to LA anyways.
Take my advice - Do not recruit for LA, especially if you're not from the area. Go for NY, so much more opportunity unless you're at Moelis.
Going to have to disagree with this. Breaking into LA IB if you're not from LA is significantly harder, but if you want to be in LA over NY LA is not bad at all. NY naturally has more finance opportunities than almost every other city by nature, but most LA bankers I know in good groups had no trouble placing all along WC, Chicago, and NY PE. While most people end up in WC PE, that's more of a function of most people in LA IB preferring WC, and those who wanted to make the move to other geographies were able to do so.
Agreed - there's a lot of self-selection bias when it comes to LA. Most people who recruit for LA IB have strong roots or a strong geographical preference for LA / WC, and tend to primarily recruit for WC PE when the time comes. Most of those who wanted to move to other geographies were able to do so during PE recruiting of the people I know.
Just curious, why is LA recruiting so oriented towards having LA roots? Anecdotally I don't think recruiting for SF, Houston, or Chicago is nearly as focused on geographical roots.
SF and Chicago are both very industry-focused. A prospect can emphasize "Why Tech/HC" for SF, "Why Energy" for Houston, and "Why Industrials" for Chicago, even if they don't have a strong preference/story for the geography. LA tends to be a lot more diverse in terms of industry and really doesn't have a "central" industry like SF or Chicago (LA has a large C&R, Media & Telecom, and REGL presence, but also has a pretty strong industrials, technology, sponsors, HC, and even FIG presence), so the "why LA" story is a lot more important than the why this story industry.
Same thing for other banking centers that aren't centered around certain industries, like Charlotte.
Can't speak for hou or sf but chi is more diverse than you might think
has industrials, fig, c&r, regl teams
Does anyone have info on Lazard's venture and growth group? Believe they are in LA and Austin. Any insight would be appreciated!
Not too familiar with the Austin office, but if I'm not mistaken the MD focused on VC/Growth in the LA office just joined a couple of months ago, so she's probably still ramping up.
Got it. Do you know what type of work they do? Any M&A or mostly VC and growth cap raises?
I've heard interviews at LAZ LA are very heavy on technicals
Yup, both Lazard and PWP are pretty technical-heavy.
Can confirm for LAZ at least-- by far the most technically challenging interview I've ever had. Didn't interview at PWP.
How did office culture seem from your recruiting experience for Lazard?
Friend interned at PWP LA, and heard good things about the culture there. Apparently there's no face time culture and the team is pretty tight-knit at all levels. Work is pretty technical, and the head of the office often gets into the weeds of the modelling with the juniors. Definitely sounds like an exciting place to be given their new senior hires.
Worked with/across from the people at PWP LA before. Great group of guys, they're definitely very smart and came off as chill people. Seniors in the office are high-quality and very well-regarded within their space.
Although I wouldn't completely agree that Lazard LA has a more diversified recruitment pool of undergrads, it seems to be quite accurate. They continue to draw a lion's share of its SA class from USC and UCLA.
Both offices have a large surfing culture as well.
Definitely true from my observations - Laz La is even harder to recruit for because they reserve so many spots for early recruiting. From what I've noticed PWP LA also really cares about people having LA roots.
Both offices are great in terms of deal experience and culture, and arguing about exits is honestly splitting hairs between the offices. Lazard LA has been around for much longer than PWP LA has and is larger, but PWP LA appears to be in extreme growth mode while Lazard LA isn't, so PWP LA may end up being larger than Lazard LA in the next few years. In the end, choosing between the offices (if you end up fortunate enough to be in that position) should come down to industry preference and fit.
Interestingly, in a city run by alumni from DLJ as well as DLJ's successors (CS/UBS LA), neither office has DLJ roots. Maybe that's the reason behind the relatively better cultures at Lazard LA and PWP LA compared to the offices with significant DLJ DNA (Moelis, CS, Barclays, UBS, MS).
At what level do juniors at Laz LA start specializing in either A&D or Interactive Media?
By second year
Thanks for the info. Is it the placement the analysts' choice are is it based on headcount/availability?
How's upwards mobility on either vertical? Noticed that interactive media only has one MD so I'd assume that vertical is less saturated at the senior level?
Be prepared to sweat at Lazard LA.
Are both ADG and Interactive Media sweaty?
Yes - ADG is on the fratty side while Interactive Media is a bit more buttoned up.
Does anyone know if PWP LA was involved in the Brookfield/Westinghouse deal? I Know that technically TPH was the advisor, but the target's industry seems like something the new P&U partner at PWP LA would be involved in given his background in energy transition.
Yes - collab between PWP LA and TPH Calgary
Know people in both groups. From what I've heard, both groups seem to be great place to be, with solid culture, good deal flow and learning experience, and a solid culture of mentorship driven by the seniors.
Was it Lazard LA and PWP LA sitting on the opposite ends of the table for the Paradigm Precision/Whitcraft deal?
Anyone know the recruiting timelines for PWP LA and Lazard LA?
Historically PWP LA's recruiting timeline is in line with PWP NY.
PWP LA historically starts early April.
Is this for SA?
Starting early March this year.
Have worked with people in both offices. PWP LA is filled with chillers, great guys to work with. Lazard LA is half frat bros and half hardos lol, but they're all great people as well.
Interacted with the guys at Lazard LA before - great group of people. Interestingly they're only one floor from Moelis LA.
Aren't like half the LA IB groups in 1999 Avenue of the Stars? Must make lateral jumps between those groups pretty awkward, taking the elevator up with people from your old firm every day.
Probably easy to lateral though. Just take the elevator to the "wrong" floor
Have the offices started for SA 2024?
Lazard LA's kicking off its diversity process.
Has PWP LA done its superdays?
What's the WFH situation at both offices?
PWP is 3 days in office, 2 days WFH. The entire office also works remotely the second half of December.
Thanks for the info. Does Laz LA do that whole work from anywhere for a month thing?
Must be nice. Do you know if it's common for the juniors to just spend December working from some vacation spot or ski resort?
Dang that's nice - is that an LA-specific thing or a PWP firm-wide thing?
Laz is hybrid with 3 days in office and 4 days out
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