Harvard Law VS Goldman Sachs

Fellow Monkeys,

Bit of a hypothetical one here, but albeit a much more realistic hypothetical than the ones thrown around here. I am currently on board to work at GS this summer, which I am 100% gung-ho for, but I'm wondering about the longer-term job security within the industry, regulations, etc... I've been beginning to give law school more weight in my mind, and I'm fairly confident that I have as good a chance as anyone at Harvard Law school straight out of undergrad. I have above a 4.0 because law schools count A+'s as a 4.3, I go to a top 3 public uni, and have great extra curriculars etc.... and I scored a 174 on the LSAT, so those demographics put me in the upper echelon for even Harvard applicants.

So my question, which would be the better long term choice(career opportunities and compensation, I know my lifestyle will suck in either path til 30+), continuing at GS or doing a little wild card move and going to HLS (assuming I get in)?

Comments (92)

Mar 2, 2012

Just something to think about -- I worked at a law firm for a couple of years and the work is mind numbingly boring.

And obviously this will vary with the type of law that you go into, but you are working for criminals.

Mar 2, 2012

You're wrong on your weighting. Law Schools will not weigh your GPA with respect to how they weigh their own grades for enrolled students. If you got a 3.5 in Undergrad on a 4.0 Scale, it will still be viewed as a 3.5 on a 4.0 Scale during the application process. You won't get a higher GPA to submit because of how a Law School will value their own grades. It's a straight up fact - there is no way around it. Congrats on the 174 by the way. That's impressive.

Mar 2, 2012

You will be fine either way. I know a lot of people that went to law school and ended up in banking, or bankers that got out and ended up in law school. With your credentials, and the LSAT being good for 5 years, you can jump into banking do 2 years, and if you don't like it, you should be a shoe-in for a top 5 school.

Mar 2, 2012

I believe you can defer law school admission for a year or two. I've heard of people going to law school after two years of IBD.

I don't think you should count on being a shoe-in for HLS though.. unless your last name is Bush, Kennedy, or Clinton.

Mar 2, 2012
burnt tangerine:

I don't think you should count on being a shoe-in for HLS though.. unless your last name is Bush, Kennedy, or Clinton.

or Mane (Gucci Mane).

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Mar 3, 2012

It doesn't hurt to apply now and see what happens. I agree with the posters here - the work is mind numbingly tedious and it doesn't get better as you progress up the chain (although as somebody pointed out, you could hope to switch to the business side down the road, but that is few and far in between).

Mar 2, 2012

Take over GS first --> Harvard Law --> Governor--> President.

Just do not forget about WSO in the process ;)

    • 1
Mar 2, 2012

Isn't law a bad industry to get into right now?

Mar 3, 2012
Connor:

Isn't law a bad industry to get into right now?

...implying finance is any better.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

Mar 3, 2012
Kenny Powers:
Connor:

Isn't law a bad industry to get into right now?

...implying finance is any better.

it is, which says a lot about the legal field right now

Mar 2, 2012

i think criminal would be pretty cool

Mar 3, 2012
blastoise:

i think criminal would be pretty cool

legally blonde?

Mar 3, 2012

I think it would be reasonable to apply to Harvard/Stanford/Yale law and go to one of those if you get in... otherwise go into banking. Also, if your parents are paying and it's not going to hurt them, then law school, if you're going to get in debt or your parents are really going to sting paying for school, just go into IBD at GS... job security is not low for analyst at GS, if you get fired, you go to another bank that makes room for you cause of your pedigree... etc...

Mar 3, 2012

LSAT marks are good for 5 years, work at Goldman.

Law school would be 3 years and half a million bucks in opportunity cost. Besides I have yet to meet a single person who enjoys corporate law. It's even more draining than finance and you get paid less.

Who the fuck wants to live like that?

Best Response
Mar 3, 2012

I was in a very similar situation in '10. I deferred Harvard for my 2-year Analyst stint. Just make an appointment with Dean Minow. She's super nice, and will tell you everything you need to know.

Frieds is correct AFAIK, so don't count on showing a higher GPA than the one you have. Don't be mislead by the stats that Law Schools put out. They are heavily distorted by URMs with sub-par scores. I hope for your sake, you have the sense to apply to more Law Schools. I was a broke college kid with a negative net-worth, and even I managed to apply to YLS and ColLS, along with HLS.

And no, unless you're a URM or the child of a famous Senator/Governor/President, you're definitely not "in the upper echelon for even Harvard applicants". There are more students with better stats than you applying than they can admit. This kind of thinking comes out during interviews, so try to show a little more humility.

Lastly, in the event that you are admitted, and manage to get a FT BB IBD offer, you should ask for a deferral. You'll have experienced the real world, and will be able to make a more informed decision then. As for compensation, unless you get into Wachtell (which is much more difficult to get than GS), you'll be way better compensated in IB/PE.

Best of luck.

    • 2
Mar 3, 2012
Leonidas:

As for compensation, unless you get into Wachtell (which is much more difficult to get than GS), you'll be way better compensated in IB/PE

If you know that comp in finance >>> law, why would you ever go to law school if you already got IBD offer? You said you deferred HLS for two years for analyst stint, but why the fuck would you go to law school after IB?

Law school is an expensive, boring, and stressful three years of your life. Not to mention, the practice of law is boring and the hours/ stress in corporate law is pretty awful. Unless you REALLY want to practice law and really hate finance, I can't see how anyone should give up on career in finance and go to law school. (or choose to attend law school over a banking offer after college)

Btw, OP - if you get a BB IBD offer, take it. Law school would be a nice option to consider if the best offer you got was a back office gig.

Mar 3, 2012

OP is actually right about his GPA (LSAC weights A+ as 4.3, while many public schools do not). Don't assume you're in yet. This is Harvard. They have their pick of Rhodes scholars, Olympians, Iraq vets, and PhDs.

That being said, you should consider Harvard's JD/MBA if your stats are this good. That'd be kick-ass.

    • 1
Mar 3, 2012

Ask on autoadmit

In my opinion, going to law school over an IBD offer (be it GS, BAML, or even Nomura) would be a very very stupid decision.

The equivalent of a PE exit op for a banker is an IBD exit op for a lawyer.

Mar 3, 2012

why is this even a thread? get into HLS and then worry about what to do rather than getting this somehow frontpaged on 'what if' scenarios.

Mar 3, 2012

If you want to work in industry, stick to Goldman Sachs. Frankly, Deutsche Bank or JPM are much better firms, but GS is not a bad choice. It is like how Morgan Stanley was five years ago.

If you believe you were born to work at a nonprofit, go with Harvard Law.

But if you are interested in a career in the business world, you need to make hay while the sun shines. And the sun is still shining on the US economy. Even now.

When you graduate HLS, you could be making five figures and have the crushing debt of law school to deal with.

    • 1
Mar 3, 2012

According to Illini, Booth > HBS/GSB and now DB/JPM > Goldman Sachs... rofl. I am not a prestige guy, as i'd be happy working at any reasonable bank just for the experience but this is ridiculous. No matter how much the public hates them, Goldman Sachs is still Goldman Sachs. What is the likely-hood the next Fed Chairman is a GS alum? How about the next Chief of Treasury? I'd say the chances are still higher than every other bank on the street, JPM/MS might be close but DB? lol dude. Don't even get me started on the Booth > HBS/GSB, that's almost as absurd as the Goldman < DB anecdote.

    • 1
Mar 3, 2012
BigBucks:

According to Illini, Booth > HBS/GSB and now DB/JPM > Goldman Sachs... rofl. I am not a prestige guy, as i'd be happy working at any reasonable bank just for the experience but this is ridiculous. No matter how much the public hates them, Goldman Sachs is still Goldman Sachs. What is the likely-hood the next Fed Chairman is a GS alum? How about the next Chief of Treasury? I'd say the chances are still higher than every other bank on the street, JPM/MS might be close but DB? lol dude. Don't even get me started on the Booth > HBS/GSB, that's almost as absurd as the Goldman < DB anecdote.

Well, in his defense, all of this is subject to individual preference. Due to my relative poverty at the time, I had only enough money to send 3 Law School apps. I chose Yale, Harvard, and Columbia. I love NYC - and by extension the East Coast - so for me, Columbia>Stanford. Despite popular opinion running to the contrary. I bet Illini feels the same about Chicago/Midwest.

Mar 3, 2012
BigBucks:

According to Illini, Booth > HBS/GSB and now DB/JPM > Goldman Sachs... rofl. I am not a prestige guy, as i'd be happy working at any reasonable bank just for the experience but this is ridiculous. No matter how much the public hates them, Goldman Sachs is still Goldman Sachs. What is the likely-hood the next Fed Chairman is a GS alum? How about the next Chief of Treasury? I'd say the chances are still higher than every other bank on the street, JPM/MS might be close but DB? lol dude. Don't even get me started on the Booth > HBS/GSB, that's almost as absurd as the Goldman < DB anecdote.

Take a look at the bonuses. The only guys who didn't get screwed this year were at DB and JPM. And GS has so many problems with past misbehavior, it is starting to look like Drexel Burnham in 1988.

I'm not sure how Booth came up in this thread, but on other threads I never said Booth is better than HBS. I said HBS does not completely outrank Booth and nobody will look at you funny for choosing Booth if you like the culture there more. There is nothing wrong with turning down HBS for another top five school if you like another school more.

I think BigBucks is projecting some of his insecurity onto me. He sees me as a threat because I don't care what car you drive, what firm you work at, or what school you went to. Then he goes chasing me around through various threads as if these views are an affront to his very being- as if he has nothing else to offer the world besides his degree, his car, and the firm he works for. There are smart people from HBS, and dumb people from HBS. Smart people from Booth, dumb people from Booth. Smart people from GS, and at least a few dumb criminals from GS too. Good groups at GS, and not quite as good groups at GS. As a bulge bracket firm, you will probably not have to work with a lot of idiots at Goldman, but the same is true across town at JPM.

Mar 15, 2012
BigBucks:

According to Illini, Booth > HBS/GSB and now DB/JPM > Goldman Sachs... rofl. I am not a prestige guy, as i'd be happy working at any reasonable bank just for the experience but this is ridiculous. No matter how much the public hates them, Goldman Sachs is still Goldman Sachs. What is the likely-hood the next Fed Chairman is a GS alum? How about the next Chief of Treasury? I'd say the chances are still higher than every other bank on the street, JPM/MS might be close but DB? lol dude. Don't even get me started on the Booth > HBS/GSB, that's almost as absurd as the Goldman < DB anecdote.

Just wanted to say hi again after the Greg Smith article.

Mar 3, 2012

Eddie Lampert passed on Harvard Law for GS. Seems to have worked out alright for him.

Mar 3, 2012

IP, you're so full of shit. I didn't realize until now but you really have a huuuuuge chip on your shoulder for having gone to a public school.

Mar 3, 2012

Leonidas I understand geographical preferences (i'd probably go to UT before NYU (not Columbia or HBS tho)) but that doesn't mean I go around on every thread regarding biz schools to drop an advertisement for McCombs school of business, I have never seen you do the same with Columbia. Idk at what point this started but for weeks now this is exactly what illini has been doing regarding Booth, it's like he is recruiting for them.

Mar 3, 2012

1 year's bonuses do not counter decades of excellence by Goldman... so I have no idea how you thought that adds to your point. You've never outright said it but you've strongly implied Booth is equal if not better than HBS, that is nonsense and we all know it. Of course I dream of being admitted to Booth one day, it is one of the best schools in the worldl. Of course I dream of working IB for DB/JPM one day, those are great banks. But that doesn't mean I'll delude myself into believing Booth is Harvard or DB is Goldman. Not based on 1 year's bonus, or some gains in some magazine rankings.

Mar 3, 2012
BigBucks:

1 year's bonuses do not counter decades of excellence by Goldman... so I have no idea how you thought that adds to your point. You've never outright said it but you've strongly implied Booth is equal if not better than HBS, that is nonsense and we all know it. Of course I dream of being admitted to Booth one day, it is one of the best schools in the worldl. Of course I dream of working IB for DB/JPM one day, those are great banks. But that doesn't mean I'll delude myself into believing Booth is Harvard or DB is Goldman. Not based on 1 year's bonus, or some gains in some magazine rankings.

Clearly you do not have a job yet. Bonuses mean everything in this industry. Ask all the top talent that have left GS due to their lower bonuses. GS has not been the best paying, god-like bank for the last 50 years too. MS, ML, Bear all had better years than GS sometime in the last 30 and paid higher bonuses. If you seriously think GS could keep retaining top talent while paying well below other banks, you are the one deluding yourself.

Mar 3, 2012

1 year's bonuses do not counter decades of excellence by Goldman... so I have no idea how you thought that adds to your point. You've never outright said it but you've strongly implied Booth is equal if not better than HBS, that is nonsense and we all know it. Of course I dream of being admitted to Booth one day, it is one of the best schools in the worldl. Of course I dream of working IB for DB/JPM one day, those are great banks. But that doesn't mean I'll delude myself into believing Booth is Harvard or DB is Goldman. Not based on 1 year's bonus, or some gains in some magazine rankings.

Well, there's a strong macroeconomic trend going on here that's a lot bigger than what employee intellect or competence can make up for. The banks that played a conservative game in 2005, 2006, 2007 have outperformed coming out of the recession. It's not just one year, BigBucks- it's more like two or three, and it's a trend that, if 1929 was any indication- will continue for another decade or two.

Is Booth equal to HBS? Is HBS far better? I don't think the world's powerful people lose too much sleep worrying about that. Someone who can succeed coming out of HBS can succeed coming out of Booth. There IS a distinction between the culture at the two schools. And if you like one school's culture more than the other's, the distinction in selectivity or job opportunities really isn't enough to override that.

Mar 3, 2012

What is your adjusted GPA (on a 4.0 scale)? 174 is good, but its not a shoe in at H/Y/S. I had very similar numbers to you and got waitlisted by H and rejected by the others.

Also, the only reason why you go to law school is to be a lawyer. People seem to have misconceptions about what a lawyer does every day. You are taking a back seat to bankers, transactional work is basically becoming an expert in an instructions manual (its boring), and litigators don't have much of a presence on Wall Street. Also, if you want to do big corporate work (prestige shit) you must go to a top-14 school to stand a decent chance. If you want a "good" chance, its H/Y/S. I'm really not exaggerating. Law school doesn't really open doors like an MBA, and a major reason why people are dissatisfied with the profession is that the practice tends to pigeonhole your entire career (your skillset is thorough but limited in scope). It's a good education but its also expensive: cost with living expenses is about 70k a year in a major city and it sucks not making money for three years.

Sorry if the thread already knows this, I saw the title and obviously have a very strong opinion about this. If you really want to do the law route (I'm assuming most people on this forum are primarily interested in corporate work), retake the LSAT, score 175+, and apply to HYS in September (especially if you want a scholarship).

With that said, does anyone think being barred will be an advantage for PE/VC, where it seems like you are more involved in all aspects of a company?

Mar 3, 2012
dontgotolawschool:

With that said, does anyone think being barred will be an advantage for PE/VC, where it seems like you are more involved in all aspects of a company?

No.

Mar 3, 2012

neither unless I'm trading at GS. No way in hell would I go to law school, because: a) too much work (in school) when my end goal would be finance anyways b) boring work c) defending the highest bidder... fuck that. to be that asshole that's convincing the useless gold digging wife to try to take more from her husband who worked his way there. or to defend some piece of scum that should be locked up.... of course you could always do patent laws, I'd still rather do finance.

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

Mar 3, 2012

Scott, if you go to Harvard/Yale, your grades are immaterial, and provided that you are reasonably intelligent, you can coast through with minimal effort. This is one of many reasons I am even considering HLS, despite my inevitable exit to PE. I'm not going to address the other stuff; whole new can of worms, lol.

Mar 3, 2012
Leonidas:

Scott, if you go to Harvard/Yale, your grades are immaterial, and provided that you are reasonably intelligent, you can coast through with minimal effort. This is one of many reasons I am even considering HLS, despite my inevitable exit to PE. I'm not going to address the other stuff; whole new can of worms, lol.

"Despite my inevitable exit to PE."

You talk about going into PE like someone talks about taking a shit after eating Chipotle. Come on bruh.

Mar 3, 2012
Leonidas:

Scott, if you go to Harvard/Yale, your grades are immaterial, and provided that you are reasonably intelligent, you can coast through with minimal effort. This is one of many reasons I am even considering HLS, despite my inevitable exit to PE. I'm not going to address the other stuff; whole new can of worms, lol.

I doubt many can coast through law school, unless he/she wants to fail out.

Mar 3, 2012
ccmonopolies:
Leonidas:

Scott, if you go to Harvard/Yale, your grades are immaterial, and provided that you are reasonably intelligent, you can coast through with minimal effort. This is one of many reasons I am even considering HLS, despite my inevitable exit to PE. I'm not going to address the other stuff; whole new can of worms, lol.

I doubt many can coast through law school, unless he/she wants to fail out.

Um, law school is not a coaster. Try to imagine studying loads of dense, boring, mind numbing material for an entire semester only to have ONE TEST and that's your GRADE for the class. No homework, no classwork, just ONE FINAL EXAM that counts as your grade. Typically, only a small pct can get an "A." About 10 percent will get a "D" and everyone else get's somewhere in between. It's nowhere near like undergrad. You need to watch an old film called "Paper Chase" that is about life at Harvard Law School for the students. Life as a law student will be like pledging a fraternity for three years. The excitement that you have now will convert to unhappiness, disillusionment, boredom, asking yourself why you did "this" to yourself, and kill your social life the first year. Even at HLS, people are intensely competitive and only a small pct can be top 10 percent. 90 percent will not be. Even at HLS, there is an elite group. Most people aspire to be there in law school. Most will not make it.

For PE, you could join a bank, do an MSF, then later do an MBA. I mean, the route to entry is much easier other ways than putting yourself through the hell that you're about to go into. I know what I'm talking about. Also, you have to understand that in law school, people cannot be "human" because they're now a law student. That relationship with that special girl in your life- forget about it. The ability to go to clubs, lounges and just enjoy life, forget about it at least your first year.

You have the ability to score really high on the LSAT. Frankly, you prob could do the same with the GMAT. I'd look at that and leave law school alone. Trust me, most people I graduated with hate their jobs. I was blessed to have a fallback and an undergrad degree in Finance so I could transition out because I realized I had no desire to be an attorney. Law is a TRADE. Don't go to law school unless you want to be in that TRADE. Finance is a lifestyle with much better exit opps, much more fun, much more excitement and in general, you're allowed to have a life that resembles something human instead of being a robot. Also, you're assuming that PE guys will like that you went to HLS. Remember, they have ppl to choose from who went to MBA/MSF programs, have prior exp in PE, M&A, etc. They don't HAVE to hire you just because you went to HLS. And you'll have to convince them you don't want to practice law. Why bother convincing them when you could avoid law school in the first place and simply work your way into PE via an MSF and later MBA if necessary? Join a PE firm directly, even a small one if necessary. Get the work experience and then apply to an MSF. Then later do an MBA. That way you have two degrees and two opps to interview. That way you can transition out of PE if you don't like it.

Sorry for the lengthy post but I try to give ppl the truth about law school. If you go, you're in for a living hell. Then you'll likely graduate, may not even get placed in PE, then really hate your job and look for a way out anyway. Then you will have to transition via doing what I recommend in the first place - an MSF or MBA.

Forget law school. Stick with the direct Finance route without a JD unless you really want to be an attorney.

Trust me on this. This board is prestige conscious. Forget about prestige unless you like the idea of being "hazed" for three years and then being hit with a paddle again over the summer after law school with the bar exam, doing something you hate for two years only to finally jump ship.

Mar 3, 2012

good point, well then... ha

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

Mar 3, 2012

Look at the employment reports from the past few years - even HLS students are getting fucked in trying to find jobs. The only law school that's immune from this is Yale and that's because most of their students go on to bigger and better things than actually practicing in BigLaw (take a quick peek at most partners' bios in law firms, you will rarely find a Yalie). Law school is graded on a curve (with a few exceptions) and you're all gunning for the same jobs (unlike BSchool where you get a mix of interests). Once you get out if you're lucky you go to Wachtell and grind it out for a few years before hopefully going to the business side, otherwise you get a job at GS working the compliance/legal side and hope that they see enough in you to become a MD or something later in your career.

You have this opportunity with GS right now - I don't think you need the intellectual branding HLS would give you to advance up the ranks and it looks like the end game may be the same so why waste 3 years and 160K?

Mar 3, 2012

This one is simple.

Bankers are hated by the general public and hate their working hours. Lawyers (and by extension, law school students), in contrast, actually hate THEMSELVES, while still not being exempt from societal scorn and the end of all personal life.

PS. Both institutions will grill you for putting typos on the titles of your documents - "Havard".

    • 1
Mar 3, 2012

^^ It's spelled Harvurd Univurstery.

Mar 3, 2012

GS all the way. You need to work on your attention to detail with that Harvard spelling

Mar 3, 2012

As someone who went to law school, I will tell you that law school is going to be a living hell. That being said, make sure that you TRULY WANT TO BE A LAWYER, not just as a "booster" to your resume, alumni network, or entry point into PE, M&A etc. There are other ways to accomplish that, i.e. top MSF, MBA. Law is incredibly grueling. I was in the law library from sun up to sundown on weekends. It's a nightmare, even more so if you don't want to truly be an attorney. If it's in your heart, fine. But if it's just for prestige, etc. stay away.

I can tell you that most people that I know from law school hate their jobs, even those in six figure, big firm jobs. After about two years, they want out. Many then end up working for the government or a smaller law firm. One of my friends flat out left her big firm job in NY and is now thinking of something completely outside of law practice and she only practiced for about 2 and a half years. It sucks, it's not fun and it's boring work, some of which can be done without even a law degree when you think about it.

Also, ask yourself if you want to spend three years of your twenties in law school when you could be in a more fun program like an MSF or MBA.

Tread lightly.

Mar 3, 2012

AMEN BROTHER! YOU SPEAK THE TRUTH! PREACH BROTHA MAN! PREACH TIL ALL THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW UNDERSTAND THE MESSAGE! AMEN BROTHER TRADERDAILY!

Mar 4, 2012

TraderDaily and others:

The key phrase was "if you go to Harvard/Yale". At H/Y, there are no real grades. At Harvard, there are 4 "grades" (HP, P, LP, and F). No one gets an "F". Period. The bottom 10% get "LP"s, and the rest receive an assortment of "HP"s and "P"s. It's even more lenient at Yale/Stanford. Just FYI, even those at the bottom 10% end up receiving multiple Big Law offers.

You are also incorrect in the assertion that Harvard Law guys don't/can't party. When I visited HLS, after receiving my acceptance letter, I spent 2 weeks living with 5 students. We went out every single night. Boston is an awesome place to be a student, and you will have a fantastic 3 years.

Again, just so you don't misunderstand, I was referring strictly to Harvard and Yale.

"The Paper Chase", while still an enjoyable book/film/show, is hopelessly outdated, btw.

Hope that helped.

Mar 4, 2012

I would honestly choose going to IBD for a few years, seeing that LSAT is good for 5 years. Just my two cents.

Mar 4, 2012

Just FYI, even those at the bottom 10% end up receiving multiple Big Law offers.

LOL. this is SO not true. If you are bottom 10% of class at Harvard Law, it's the kiss of death for Biglaw and you are likely fucked for employment. You might get lucky and score few Biglaw offers if you interview well and have some credentials (such as having engineering background, URM status, etc) going for you, but it would be a very, VERY big uphill battle. in recent years, noticeable amount of people even from Harvard Law got completely fucked for employment, many of whom barely ended up with 50k a year job doing some garbage law work at no-name shop.

You make it sound like those Biglaw employers that pay 160k/ year hand out jobs to kids at top 6 law schools like they hand out candies. Nothing could be farther from truth.

Mar 4, 2012

We're going into a much more difficult operating environment for the working rich. So your goal is the graduate school debt-free or with as little student debt as possible. Student debt is unbankruptable debt. There is no clean slate with it. It will follow you and even chase your social security payments.

If you get in, you need a financial aid package from HLS that lets you graduate with less than $40K in debt

Mar 4, 2012

Make 100k+ a year or spend it, hate your life or really hate your life only as a stepping stone...sit down and read a few private label (non FNMA or GNMA) MBS prospectuses from 2003-2007 or a red herring for a new IPO cover to cover and look for weaknesses. Then think about how awesome it is going to be to write something like that for the next 20 years of your life. I have met young people genuine passionate about finance but yet to find someone with the equal (sincere) passion about a corporate law career.

Maybe you like things like that maybe you are obsessed with dick measuring and prestige, not saying finance people are not, but the gratification one gets from a law career is shallow. I'm really glad this divorced woman got half of her husbands money or now everyone has to pay more for health care because I got 1M+ for my client who had just sooo much emotional damage. Small business owners will love to hear about how I screwed them out of their field because I helped patent something that is outlandish and they could continue business but it is just incredibly expensive and not worth my risk it once was.

People in finance get rich because of their relationships and their complex and creative thinking. People in law (not all law please don't think I refer to every single lawyer) get rich because of relationships souring or making simple situations more complex than they need to be.

I hope my discontent for lawyers due to (in part) the desecration of the patent system, the medical field, and the American family is not being displayed too much.

Choose GS is simple you are already at the end of the tunnel why go back through it?

and I know saying an analyst is at the end of the tunnel is a complete joke to people who are already working but remember when you were a student this is how you thought once (or at least I did)

Mar 4, 2012

Yeah the most grueling thing about law school is the partying regardless of tier. It's hard to fail a class. If you are really killing yourself over the reading you probably aren't GS/PE material.

Despite all the negativity, I understand 22 year olds not wanting to enter the real world yet. But its expensive, and breaking into anything FO wall street will become harder.

Mar 4, 2012

Well, just saying that why go through the hell of law school in the first place when there are much more fun and interesting things to do? I'd take IBD and do the fun thing which is to work and then go to a top MBA. Much less pigeonholey, much more fun, much more gratifying. Trust me. Law is boring, like someone else said like learning how to be an expert on an instruction manual. Stay away.

Mar 5, 2012

Just wanted to point out that law is the only profession I'm aware of that has support groups online and in person called "Leaving the law" for disillusioned junior lawyers (doesn't take the debt away though!). There is no equivalent group for leaving GS. Think about that.

Mar 5, 2012

When you are a banker at GS you may work like a dog, but you have exit ops, career flexibility, and income coming in the door.

When you go to Harvard Law -->Big Law, you have non-dischargeable in bankruptcy student loan debt, a degree that typesets you into a job into which you will generally have to work 3-4 years to even be competitive to move somewhere else, and the only job which is lower on the totem pole than an investment banking analyst. If the economy collapses and you are laid off during this, you don't have any transferable skills and quite likely will end up being a doc review slave for $10-30/hr.

Lastly and most importantly, a lot of people on this board have the delusion that Finance and law are the same in terms of how bad they are. That is incredibly inaccurate. Big Law is currently under much more severe questions about its survival and economic feasibility going forward on an operational level than Finance. Additionally, the job market is in perpetual oversaturation bc of the number of law school grads being vomited out each year in proportion to the jobs. There's been an excess supply of labor since the 80's, and it's only gotten worse since then.

Mar 5, 2012

In my opinion, take law! It will open up doors for you in business or law. Being able to do both is a great skills set. Even if you do not end up practicing law, many of the most successful business people have a background in law.

What did you expect when you asked ppl on WALL STREET oasis what they think? A) Finance ppl hate lawyers B) Finance ppl do not want to admit there might be more career growth elsewhere, since the reason they did finance in the first place is career growth.

You should do what you genuinely enjoy, not what some 18 year old kid says on a message board.

Mar 5, 2012
dabears432:

In my opinion, take law! It will open up doors for you in business or law. Being able to do both is a great skills set. Even if you do not end up practicing law, many of the most successful business people have a background in law.

Horrible point.

dabears432:

B) Finance ppl do not want to admit there might be more career growth elsewhere, since the reason they did finance in the first place is career growth.

Obviously you haven't been here long, because there are a LOT of people on this site that are encouraging current students to go for something quantitative like math or engineering. Also, you're obviously delusional if you think that finance people are afraid that a career in law will provide more career growth than finance can... Whatever you keep telling yourself to rationalize you getting that law degree from some nontop school w/ no job offers brah...

dabears432:

A) Finance ppl hate lawyers

fucking everybody hates lawyers

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

Mar 5, 2012
dabears432:

In my opinion, take law! It will open up doors for you in business or law. Being able to do both is a great skills set. Even if you do not end up practicing law, many of the most successful business people have a background in law.

What did you expect when you asked ppl on WALL STREET oasis what they think? A) Finance ppl hate lawyers B) Finance ppl do not want to admit there might be more career growth elsewhere, since the reason they did finance in the first place is career growth.

You should do what you genuinely enjoy, not what some 18 year old kid says on a message board.

Your first point is absolutely false. HLS only opens doors to Big Law which has significantly more stratified career flexibility than investment banking. On top of that, you're paying with massive student loan debt for it in most cases instead of achieving positive net worth and thereby greater freedom earlier in your career. Additionally, outside of the rarefied heights of PE/HF, if you ever want to move into industry, it's quite normal for a law degree to close a door rather than open it.

Secondly, there is no career growth in law by and large. It's a collapsed, cratering industry, with even the temp jobs being automated. The problems with law are much much larger than they are with corporate finance looking at the next 10 - 20 years.

Finally, I used to work at GS/MS and have worked with more than a few ex-lawyers. All of them were ex-HLS/YLS and had to catch numerous lucky breaks to even get into IBD coming from a law background. I may not have gone to law school, but I damn well know a significant number of people who did/have.

Mar 5, 2012

^^^ pretty gross generalization here. I'd be willing to bet that as far as number of opportunities go, an HLS degree gives you just as many as being a GS analyst (perhaps more, but they are not the same kind of opportunities).

The take away for anyone considering law school is that you go only if you want to be a lawyer, and if so, preferably at a top tier school with a scholarship. But everyone seems to overlook the former. I'd say most people who have talked to me about law school do not know if they want to be a lawyer. I teach the LSAT on the side and its frustrating hearing the shitty excuses people make up. To say the least, it takes a certain kind of mindset. And stuff like "oh well a law degree opens doors for you" is shit parents say to comfort their debt-ridden child.

Mar 5, 2012

To play devil's advocate: A good number of top finance heads were HLS grads (e.g.: Lloyd Blankfein). Bruce Wasserstein (late CEO of Lazard) donated 25 million to construct the new Wasserstein Hall at HLS. He must've thought HLS was worth something, or else that money could've just gone to HBS.

Mar 5, 2012

and Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs Asset Management made a huge donation to Georgetown. For the love of god don't make this the reason why you go to law school.

Mar 6, 2012

I agree - you are naming a handful of people out of the almost 200 year history of the school. Figure that the class sizes are quite large for a law school as well (~600) and the odds are really slim that THAT is why these guys made the transition and got to where they are now. Hell, even Lloyd was rejected by the GS and JPMs of the world when he first tried to make the switch to finance and he was on partner track as a lawyer.

Mar 6, 2012
Ronaldo7:

I agree - you are naming a handful of people out of the almost 200 year history of the school. Figure that the class sizes are quite large for a law school as well (~600) and the odds are really slim that THAT is why these guys made the transition and got to where they are now. Hell, even Lloyd was rejected by the GS and JPMs of the world when he first tried to make the switch to finance and he was on partner track as a lawyer.

Lolwut? Lloyd Blankfein never practiced law since he never took the bar, he worked with Donovan for about 3 years before dropping off to start a career in trading. There are many examples of lawyers turned financiers, heck some of the best guys out there haven't even studied Economics or Finance or anything related at all.

Truth is, law school is harder than IB, any lawyer from a top school should be clever enough to acquire IB skills (mind you, it's not even that big of a challenge when the first 3 years of any IB stint is mindless Excel monkeying) within a convenient timeframe.
It's all about having money right now rather than considering the exit opportunities. OP, can you support yourself, if you have to borrow money for a J.D, well, you're better off working in GS.

Mar 6, 2012
Hegel:

Lolwut? Lloyd Blankfein never practiced law since he never took the bar, he worked with Donovan for about 3 years before dropping off to start a career in trading. There are many examples of lawyers turned financiers, heck some of the best guys out there haven't even studied Economics or Finance or anything related at all.

Where did you see that he never took the bar?

Mar 6, 2012

Work at GS and save yourself the pain. I don't know too many people who really are happy as attorneys. I don't care if it's BigLaw or whatever. Law is a key to unhappiness. It sucks. It's boring. It's devoid of any real free time if you're at a major law firm and some of it can be done without a law degree. Plus, Finance is more interesting. I am not biased. I've seen both sides of the coin.

At GS or any bank, you're making money. In law school, you're mostly not making money unless you're working over the summer. Why would you want to go to law school anyway to do PE down the road? Why not work at GS, get your MSF, work a cpl years, then do a top MBA if you want to be at Blackstone so bad?

Mar 6, 2012

Well it doesn't necessarily say that he didn't take the bar - from what I've read he actually practiced and represented the firm on various matters. It would've been malpractice to do so - but either way - Lloyd was HLS and people weren't knocking down the door to get him into their shops when he decided to switch to finance.

Mar 6, 2012

Ronaldo, law firms as big as the one Lloyd was in (top 20 in taxation) have a litigation division. It's unlikely someone specialized in securities or derivatives or tax issues would represent in a court, hence Goldman's board would never let Lloyd do any legal work (by the way just few months ago, London HFs were snatching derivative lawyers out of magic circle firms since there's a short supply).
Also, no matter your background, nobody will ever knock down at your door to give you a job, especially in this economy.

P.S. Blankfein is hardly the most powerful partner in GS. Rogers on the other hand is simply scary.

Mar 6, 2012

I do want to point somethings out here. First, about Bar Membership - they expire. It's not a one and done thing. Yes, you only need to pass the Bar once, but you still need to keep current. If you don't, then I'm not sure whether you would have to take the Bar again or whether your previous pass is acceptable and you'd just need to go through the entire application process. Second, I know attorneys who don't use the Esq. title when they aren't dealing with law and don't choose to keep the title when they are dealing with non-Law related business. Just because you choose not to use a title doesn't mean you don't still have the title. When you receive your diploma from law school, you are conferred the title of Juris Doctor and can use Esquire as an post-name honorific if you'd like but it's highly frowned upon. The use of Esquire has traditionally been associated with actually passing the Bar. Third, Blankfein, during his time as a practicing Lawyer, could have represented Goldman without it being a conflict. As long as he is not a practicing attorney, his representation of Goldman as their CEO is not a conflict.

Hegel, that's not entirely true. Although many firms have litigation departments, for the more specialized practices those attorneys will go to court with the litigation team when required to do so.

Mar 6, 2012

I do want to point somethings out here. First, about Bar Membership - they expire. It's not a one and done thing. Yes, you only need to pass the Bar once, but you still need to keep current. If you don't, then I'm not sure whether you would have to take the Bar again or whether your previous pass is acceptable and you'd just need to go through the entire application process.

No, it doesn't. New York bar license is a one and done thing as long as you pay your dues, you can verify that on their site (LB would have passed the bar in NY since he was working there),

Second, I know attorneys who don't use the Esq. title when they aren't dealing with law and don't choose to keep the title when they are dealing with non-Law related business. Just because you choose not to use a title doesn't mean you don't still have the title. When you receive your diploma from law school, you are conferred the title of Juris Doctor and can use Esquire as an post-name honorific if you'd like but it's highly frowned upon. The use of Esquire has traditionally been associated with actually passing the Bar.

Of course you don't, Esq. is more often used by UK lawyers. Does Lloyd hold a JD? Yes he does, did he take the bar? No, he didn't. Also Juris doctor is a professional doctorate, attorney is a job qualification, they are different, I don't know if you're obliged to use the attorney or Esq title always, Occam Razor at hand, that qualification never came up, so I'd say it's reasonable to admit he's not an attorney, keep in mind, being a lawyer doesn't mean you're an attorney.

Frieds, I really think you should reread my previous post, because what you wrote doesn't make much sense. I'm arguing that since LB hasn't been a litigator it'd be pointless for him to represent Goldman's in a Court, I didn't even mention a conflict or anything, we weren't talking about that.
On a final note, being in a law firm doesn't make you an attorney, and neither being part of the defensive counsel does turn you into the appointed litigator

Mar 7, 2012
Hegel:

I do want to point somethings out here. First, about Bar Membership - they expire. It's not a one and done thing. Yes, you only need to pass the Bar once, but you still need to keep current. If you don't, then I'm not sure whether you would have to take the Bar again or whether your previous pass is acceptable and you'd just need to go through the entire application process.

No, it doesn't. New York bar license is a one and done thing as long as you pay your dues, you can verify that on their site (LB would have passed the bar in NY since he was working there),

Hegel - if you declare yourself 'retired' as a practicing attorney you wouldn't be on the site anymore, perhaps that's the explanation? They don't just keep a database of everybody who has ever passed the NY Bar live - I think it's just to check to see who is currently in good standing - so those that do not pay their dues, are disbarred or retire will not be on the site anymore.

Mar 6, 2012

Why not actually do something you're genuinely interested in? Rather than just chasing $ and 'prestige' that wears thin after your first 16 hour day?

skiboyne:

Fellow Monkeys,

Bit of a hypothetical one here, but albeit a much more realistic hypothetical than the ones thrown around here. I am currently on board to work at GS this summer, which I am 100% gung-ho for, but I'm wondering about the longer-term job security within the industry, regulations, etc... I've been beginning to give law school more weight in my mind, and I'm fairly confident that I have as good a chance as anyone at Harvard Law school straight out of undergrad. I have above a 4.0 because law schools count A+'s as a 4.3, I go to a top 3 public uni, and have great extra curriculars etc.... and I scored a 174 on the LSAT, so those demographics put me in the upper echelon for even Harvard applicants.

So my question, which would be the better long term choice(career opportunities and compensation, I know my lifestyle will suck in either path til 30+), continuing at GS or doing a little wild card move and going to HLS (assuming I get in)?

"More Cowbell! I still need more Cowbell!"

Mar 7, 2012

Prestige is overrated. Go with what is enjoyable and stimulating for you. I can assure you that law school will likely be neither. Besides with GS there is no opportunity cost. With law school there is.

Mar 7, 2012

In Illinois, bar membership only requires annual re-registration. I know this because my Dad has a JD that he hasn't used in 25 years but still pays dues every year.

But every state has its own rules. For instance, you don't need a JD to sit for the bar exam in Wisconsin. You can practice law within the state if you have a college degree and pass the bar (I believe with a few other conditions).

Mar 7, 2012

to be fair, despite the shitty job market, passing the bar will probably make you more employable than say... the CFA exam....

Mar 7, 2012

It'll make you employable to the extent that you can get in on the document reviews. At that point it is monotonous mental prostitution with almost no chances of getting out of the hole and zero career progression... Just avoid the 3 years and tuition and look for something else.

Mar 7, 2012

Do what you would prefer to do, either way it sounds like your set to be a big dirty rich ma'fucka.

Law seems tedious to me (even more so than being at the bottom of the pile in IB) but some enjoy it and that industry certainly seems safer than IB at the minute. Mind you HLS would beat the living shit out of your savings.

Talk to people who have done both and try to think what path you would rather be down in ten years. Forget about prestige, the only person you have to answer to at the end of the day is yourself. (Dont forget about money though; money's nice).

Damn you Rodger!

My WSO Blog

Mar 7, 2012

Do GS. For the last time. Do GS.

Mar 9, 2012

Do you want to be banker or a lawyer?

My opinion:
Go to GS, that opportunity will vanish if you wait. Law School will still be around. And they'll be more than happy to get you after 1-3 years of banking if you decide that's not right for you. Plus, if you wanna do M&A law (the ONLY interesting area of law) you'll have an edge.

Good luck.

Mar 10, 2012
Dumbeldore3000:

Do you want to be banker or a lawyer?

My opinion:
Go to GS, that opportunity will vanish if you wait. Law School will still be around. And they'll be more than happy to get you after 1-3 years of banking if you decide that's not right for you. Plus, if you wanna do M&A law (the ONLY interesting area of law) you'll have an edge.

Good luck.

I second that.

Mar 13, 2012

Similar situation here.

I interned at a top M&A group at a BB last summer and accepted my returning offer.

I applied to law schools in the fall and found out I was accepted at Harvard Law School a few months ago. I will be accepting HLS and deferring it for two years, while I finish the analyst stint in M&A.

I see several advantages to this path

1) Save money for law school while your work for IBD - Taking into account summer associate earnings and IBD savings, I will most likely be graduating from law school with less than 50k in debt.

2) Improve your chances for BigLaw recruiting (if that's what you want to go into) - Corporate law firms love banking experience. Even if you don't make law review or get any High Passes in your classes, work experience in investment banking make you stand out because the firms at least know you can handle the hours.

3) Possibility of a joint JD/MBA degree - The GMAT is a piece of cake compared to the LSAT. In the two years you're doing your analyst stint, you can take the GMAT, get some references, and apply to HBS. JD/MBA saves you a year's time and tuition. Even if you don't end up becoming a lawyer, you get the HLS stamp of approval and get to hobnob with future leaders of the free world (sort of)

4) Possibility of continuing in PE - If you get a great megafund offer by the end of the two years, you can ditch HLS altogether.

5) Possibility of a viable exit opportunity if PE recruitment doesnt work out / you end up hating your life

So take banking, apply to law schools, defer, do banking, and then go to law school. Done.

Mar 13, 2012
gdxx:

Similar situation here.

I interned at a top M&A group at a BB last summer and accepted my returning offer.

I applied to law schools in the fall and found out I was accepted at Harvard Law School a few months ago. I will be accepting HLS and deferring it for two years, while I finish the analyst stint in M&A.

I see several advantages to this path

1) Save money for law school while your work for IBD - Taking into account summer associate earnings and IBD savings, I will most likely be graduating from law school with less than 50k in debt.

2) Improve your chances for BigLaw recruiting (if that's what you want to go into) - Corporate law firms love banking experience. Even if you don't make law review or get any High Passes in your classes, work experience in investment banking make you stand out because the firms at least know you can handle the hours.

3) Possibility of a joint JD/MBA degree - The GMAT is a piece of cake compared to the LSAT. In the two years you're doing your analyst stint, you can take the GMAT, get some references, and apply to HBS. JD/MBA saves you a year's time and tuition. Even if you don't end up becoming a lawyer, you get the HLS stamp of approval and get to hobnob with future leaders of the free world (sort of)

4) Possibility of continuing in PE - If you get a great megafund offer by the end of the two years, you can ditch HLS altogether.

5) Possibility of a viable exit opportunity if PE recruitment doesnt work out / you end up hating your life

So take banking, apply to law schools, defer, do banking, and then go to law school. Done.

I've said this a million fucking times. First, Congratulations on Harvard. But now to tough love. Why the fuck would you want to leave banking to pursue a JD and do Biglaw, make less to do the dull side of the deals, be bossed around by the bankers (maybe even the bank you currently work for now) and go into a major law firm and do the same shit that friends of mine who went to law school and are now at big firms actually hate? Plus, you'll likely be living in a major city where you'll be middle class even with your high income compared to bankers. I'm going to say the most controversial thing on this board. Take the GMAT. Go to business school. You're too smart to waste time, energy and money on HLS. HBS could use more bankers and it will actually be fun. Law school ain't fun. It's dull, stressful and pays much less than Finance, which should be enough to steer you away. I mean. why not stay in banking and apply to business school at Harvard instead? Think MBA, not the shitcan known as law school where you will be learning how to be essentially as another poster suggested: an expert on an instruction manual. Does that sound fun? To be a human legal encyclopedia?

Mar 14, 2012
TraderDaily:

I've said this a million fucking times. First, Congratulations on Harvard. But now to tough love. Why the fuck would you want to leave banking to pursue a JD and do Biglaw, make less to do the dull side of the deals, be bossed around by the bankers (maybe even the bank you currently work for now) and go into a major law firm and do the same shit that friends of mine who went to law school and are now at big firms actually hate? Plus, you'll likely be living in a major city where you'll be middle class even with your high income compared to bankers. I'm going to say the most controversial thing on this board. Take the GMAT. Go to business school. You're too smart to waste time, energy and money on HLS. HBS could use more bankers and it will actually be fun. Law school ain't fun. It's dull, stressful and pays much less than Finance, which should be enough to steer you away. I mean. why not stay in banking and apply to business school at Harvard instead? Think MBA, not the shitcan known as law school where you will be learning how to be essentially as another poster suggested: an expert on an instruction manual. Does that sound fun? To be a human legal encyclopedia?

Well one possibility that someone might pick law over finance is they're more INTERESTED in law. In M&A, I enjoyed deal execution (like everyone else), but found myself drawn more to hostile takeovers/shareholder activism (stuff the bankers hated so much they actually delegated it to the lawyers and two MDs who only did activism). Don't get me wrong, I was good at what I did in finance, but I just found myself paying more attention to the lawyers talking about compliance/risk/regulations than the bankers blabbing about ROIs on conference calls.

Not everyone heading into law is completely oblivious about the characteristics of the legal profession. I worked at several law firms as well as for the judicial branch. I've taken classes both at the law school and the business school and I enjoyed the former more. What am I more excited by ten/twenty years down the road: a cushy director-ship at a PE fund or litigating a white-collar suit before the federal judiciary? The latter, without a doubt.

Many people argue against going to law school because they themselves went to law school without knowing what they really wanted to do with their lives. They realize IN law school that they hate briefing cases, spotting issues, and trying to understand substantive due process. If given the choice between building a deck/model and briefing a case, I'd also pick the latter.

Now, a word of caution about the law / business school choice. I think there is a difference between Harvard and a third-tier school... like Howard, for example. HLS opens a lot of doors and is the ultimate seal of approval from the legal world, whereas third-tier schools just rob you of three-years of tuition and fail to provide you with job prospects.

If OP has an inkling of interest in law, and is not merely doing it for prestige, then I see no harm in getting a JD.

Mar 13, 2012

One of frat bros from my college turned down a consulting job (deloitte S&O) to go to top 10 law school (U of Michigan Law). He told me that it was absolutely the worst decision he's ever made in his life, and he would do anything to get that Deloitte offer back and screw with law. it's something to think about.

my suspicion is that many people don't have a concrete idea of what working at a law firm is actually like before committing to law school. law school is boring, expensive, takes too long, and stressful as fuck. Not to mention, practicing law sucks balls. there is a reason why the vast majority of BigLaw lawyers quit their gigs 3-4 years into their jobs

if you can get a banking/ consulting offer, do yourself a favor and fuck law school. You will be happy that you did.

Mar 13, 2012

Listen to Enrique above. Law school is stressful as fuck. It's boring as hell. Trust me on this. You will kicking yourself in the balls if you enroll in that fucker. Don't do it.

Mar 14, 2012

Lol at thinking ANYONE could find law more interesting than finance. Lol Just Lol. Tbf, you're a dumb pumo aspie so your point is invalid, but just lol.

Op, ask your question here www.autoadmit.com

Mar 14, 2012

Listen to the previous posts - I attended a top 10 law school and worked in BigLaw (think Skadden) and was burnt out after 3 years. Ended up doing biz dev and working with tech cos and startups which has been great since they're the rage now but now finally going back to school at a top 10 MBA and hoping to fully transition into finance. What everyone has said against law is correct. It's intellectually stimulating, but once you get out and practice it's just not the same and you're at the mercy of the bankers - our first day at work they told us that 85% of us would be out of there by 3 years and they were right. Hardly anybody from my class is still at that first firm. At the very least I was conditioned to work long hours and pay attention to detail and a JD/MBA from two top 10 institutions will look good on paper, but I could've just done it in one swoop and skipped law practice.

Mar 15, 2012

I agree with BigBucks, no way DB>GS, thats just a retarded statement. GS is still >JPM, just look at the league tables. Who gives a shit about securities. http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/14/opinion/levine-goldm...

Mar 15, 2012
Comment
Mar 15, 2012
Comment
Mar 15, 2012
Comment
Mar 15, 2012
Comment
Aug 28, 2015