J.D. in finance?

WallStreetEagle's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 566

Dear,

I was wondering if J.D. people get into business area especially finance (IB, MC, PE firms). If they do, where do they usually end up and what do they do? Is it regarded as a special, prestigious role?

I have a couple of theories for my career path and one of them is to get J.D. (instead of MBA) after a few years of IB and probably PE experience.

What do you think? Sorry my question is poorly formulated and addresses a broad range of topics. Any kinds of inputs will be very much appreciated.

Comments (27)

Oct 30, 2019

JD / MBA in finance here.

Working at a MM boutique.

No doubt that it helped me get into the industry. The legal education helped me get up to speed quickly with negotiating purchase agreements (reps / warranties, indemnifications, etc.).

I don't consider it too special, but some of my co-workers might.

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Oct 30, 2019

JD AND MBA?? Jeez.. Is that the Harvard program? How does your JD education help you personally as well? I believe JD programs in top law school have the best curriculum that pushes one's intelligence and linguistic sense, which I believe is huge!

Oct 30, 2019

Not to discount Johnny, he may well be HBS/HLS alumni, but a lot of programs offer this. From the very top of both business and law schools, to some super strong law but not as strong business (USC), to very weak programs you've never heard of.

Still very impressive and sounds like a huge sacrifice for usually 4 years full time. You've got to have a lot of commitment to do that.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Oct 31, 2019

Hi WSE - Not a Harvard program. A mid-tier, midwest school.

It does help me personally as it taught me to "think like a lawyer". The problem solving, Socratic method of teaching and rigorous work load has all been extremely beneficial throughout my career.

Oct 31, 2019

Johnny where did you get your joint degree at?

Oct 31, 2019

Hi Shrek - A mid-tier, midwest school.

Most Helpful
Oct 31, 2019

I used to work in biglaw, then moved to an EB in an investment banking role.

I tend to find that legal know-how is very helpful in finance, because the answers to complex technical questions are often found in a transaction contract or law. Most investment bankers frankly feel less comfortable navigating the contracts that govern their transactions than they should. Working in law will help you feel confident with efficiently tackling 100+page documents to find answers.

All that said I think a whole law degree is a bit overkill. Contract law is pretty easy imo and more a matter of knowing what's market than what some professor has to say.

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Oct 31, 2019

No doubt the whole JD course made you a more intelligent person as well. I'm guestimating that you're from T14, which would have cost you lots of money in addition to the pile of debt out of undergrad. Do you feel it is all worth the time and money overall (personally and career wise)

Oct 31, 2019

As someone who has a lot of friends who went to top law schools...I doubt this.

Oct 31, 2019

Completely agree with your second paragraph, Fugue.

Oct 31, 2019

JD is incredibly useful in RE development and RE private equity. Development code, development agreements, and joint-venture agreements are complex documents that often require attorney clarification/opinion. The ability to self-perform complex legal analysis would be a big asset in the space.

Oct 31, 2019

JD here. I practiced law a couple years, then got the MBA and went to IB and then buy side. While many people tell me the JD makes me unique, I don't buy it. I don't think it's added much value at all and if I could do it again, I'd definitely skip it.

People seem to love the idea of the law as this broadly applicable skill, but I actually think it's about as narrow of a skill set as you can find. I first realized this when I was working on deals as a lawyer and saw that the bankers knew so much more about my job than I knew about theirs. They had a better understanding of WTF is actually going on in the deal, and if they had to fill in to do my job they could've done it. Lawyers on the other hand don't know anything about the finance/economics of a deal. I don't like to sound harsh and say that they're just scribes, but honestly that's often the case.

Now, as someone who's been out of law a while, all I see in lawyers is people who are getting in the way and trying to create fake issues to protect their own relevance. 99% of them are masters in the art of pissing on your head and telling you it's raining so they can sell you an umbrella. I think people are slowly realizing just how commoditized a lot of the advice is, and it's going to become increasingly hard for a good lawyer to differentiate himself.

I don't think the skill set translates well to finance at all, and even if it did it would just be a more slow and expensive way to get there.

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Oct 31, 2019

Agree on this. I think a lot of legal work will get more and more comoditized in the near future.

Oct 31, 2019

You can say the same thing about banking, investing, medicine, etc. Everything is being commdoditized...

Nov 1, 2019

This is exactly correct. If I had to do it over again I would have tried to network my way into an analyst position at a bank right after college in 2003. Instead I went to law school and while I've practiced in biglaw, it's the investment pros that know way more than the lawyers. Sure we can read docs, but they do everything else.

Nov 1, 2019

First reading this, I thought you wanted to get a JD degree that specialized in finance

Nov 1, 2019

Right, I should have been more clear about the question. I meant the JD degree's utility in the finance domain in terms of career wise.

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Nov 1, 2019

No worries it was funny

Nov 1, 2019

JDs are useful in real estate. Hardly required, as you still pay an attorney either way, but it can come in handy from a knowledge standpoint. That's not a reason to go get one by any stretch though.

Nov 1, 2019
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