I'm currently a 2nd year corporate associate at a top 2 NY law firm and am seriously considering the switch from big law to investment banking. The biggest issue for me is that while a big law job is more secure than one in IB, I look at the people 5-6 years ahead of me, as well as the traditional big law exit options, and find neither that interesting. Even the partners - the absolute best one can hope to be in big law - spend all of their time working and doing work that is marginally more interesting than that of a senior associate. At least in IB, as you move up the ranks the hours become better, the pay grows exponentially faster than it does in big law, and even if you don't want to be a banker for the rest of your life (as I think is the case with me), at least you have some pretty exciting exit options to consider.
What makes this decision hard for me is that at 27 I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life. I know that I love transactional work, like working in a fast-paced, demanding environment, don't mind long hours, and eventually want to be the one making the deals, rather than a lawyer/banker who only facilitates them. I think investment banking makes sense for me because I could develop valuation/pitching/modeling skills and down the road switch over to PE, or some other corporate/management role. While I'm realistic that being a banker may not be my dream job (and in many ways it is the different side of the same coin when it comes to big law), I at least think it will open more doors and point me in a better direction than my current career.
I was hoping that someone here who has made the switch (or even someone currently in the industry) could let me know about their experience, or maybe temper my expectations of what being a banker entails. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.