Rx Law to Rx Banking or Buyside

I am a 5th year restructuring associate at a big law firm looking for advice generally re: how to move to restructuring banking or a buy side position. Went to HYS to the extent relevant.

What is the feasibility to lateral directly in the current market (or, say, a 2 year timeframe)? If I went to b-school, would I get any credit for the biglaw years? I have seen others in my firm (including some more senior) make the move. Curious about any creative strategies, resources, etc.

Thanks in advance

 

just a thought from what I’ve seen. good chance you will be an associate in banking and not a VP unless you have strong relationships (at the bank or bringing in business) - this is for many reasons including the need to be closer to the models to help you develop. you could move to the buy side now, that recruiting process is less structured and there are tons of unique shops that may need you right now

 

I know a couple people who were practicing lawyers before b school and they all did pretty well in recruiting. The biggest issue is cost though--are you really willing to pay $200k + ~$600k in opportunity cost to go back to school at this stage in your life?

A lateral move to banking is doable but you're going to need to network pretty hard. I'm sure you've worked across a lot of restructuring bankers--I'd recommend getting coffee or drinks with a couple. Ideally you'd reach out to former lawyers (from your school or firm) so you can explicitly ask them about how they made the transition. The issue with recruiting at the post-associate level is that it's very random and need based so you need to make sure you're top of mind when an opportunity comes up.

 

Thanks all for the feedback. If it were between b school with opportunity cost vs never switching, I would do the b school route if the probability of landing a solid position afterwards was sufficiently high. Truthfully the opportunity cost of b school will be easily over 1 million. Your advice on reaching out to those I work with is helpful, and I will begin to do this.

Regarding switching directly to a buyside position - how feasible is this and what would be a reasonable estimate on compensation and “level” / title?

Separately, would a few more years of WE be a disadvantage, advantage or neutral?

 
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I am surprised I don’t see this question more often. I suppose the average age of this site makes it more common for analysts to ponder law school after phasing out of banking rather than the other way around.

Anyways, my roommate is a 3rd year at a big law firm (I was a lateral) so I have quite the inside scoop on the “real” day-to-day life on both sides of this equation. Not to mention the last 3 months stuck working together in our apartment. Man, do I have to say... they are totally different beasts. How in the world did you got 3 yrs of law school + 5 yrs practicing and just figure this out?

In my opinion, don’t go back to B-School. I would argue that from a content/stimulation/pay POV you are way past the point of returning to Associate roles by the time B-School wraps. Additionally, if you can’t get one single lateral offer or lead via network/polished resume/intellectual chops than I think the answer is that banking/buy-side isn’t for you and it will save you the million bucks that you cited above. 5 years = a metric shit ton of clients, peer lawyers, mentors, UG network, law school classmates (x100 via spider web). Your network HAS to have some credible higher level bankers/buy side dudes floating around that could get you a phone call.

FWIW, I would guess the hurdle for you is really going to be over qualification. Not ready for VP and will want too much $$ for Associate. If I was the group head or hiring person, where do I seat a guy (or gal) like you that will keep you happy-ish, train you, pay you fairly, bruise your ego with 24 yr olds running circles around you etc. It really won’t have anything to do with your resume or ability to burn $$ on more education.

I have to ask, why banking/buy side? I could go on forever about how different they are from law, but I am curious about what the appeal is for you? What do you think you will like about it? Where do you see this career path (combined with your law experience) taking you in ~5 yrs?

 

How would you describe the "real day-to-day life on both sides"? Agreed there are material differences - would be curious for you to elaborate on why you consider them to be "totally different beasts".

B school is decidedly an inferior option relative to a direct lateral. However, those considering whether this makes sense need to consider the ~30 years they will spend post b-school and determine what they would prefer to be doing on a daily basis during that period (rather than solely the upfront / opportunity costs).

I have seen a fair sampling of 5+ years come in at VP (and rx banking job postings suggest 5+ years biglaw is a relevant threshold for that level). I would welcome others to share experiences regarding laterals of those 5+ and how they are typically on-boarded, and the ballpark comp.

Re: your questions about why switch - to eventually move into a direct investing role. Obviously significant differences between a service industry (law / banking) and buyside.

 

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