Law degree -> investment banking?

Hi everyone,

I'm majoring in both Civil law and Taxation and am interested in entering investment banking.

The thing is that in both majors you don't get any real exposure to math/stochastic.

How to investment bankers tend to look at that? I've heard that before the Great Recession you even had a chance with a single Liberal Arts degree but that things have changed now.

Can anyone please shed some light on this as I'm sure there a plenty of people out there with the same question.

Sincerely yours,
Jonathan Sidwell

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Comments (31)

Dec 26, 2015

I can't tell if this guy is a troll or just genuinely clueless.

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Dec 26, 2015
QGKZ:

I can't tell if this guy is a troll or just genuinely clueless.

The latter, so some help would be appreciated.

Dec 26, 2015
Jonathan Sidwell:

QGKZ:I can't tell if this guy is a troll or just genuinely clueless.

The latter, so some help would be appreciated.

You do not need any mathematics for investment banking. I would suggest researching what investment banking is and what it involves.

Dec 26, 2015
QGKZ:

Jonathan Sidwell: QGKZ:I can't tell if this guy is a troll or just genuinely clueless.The latter, so some help would be appreciated.

You do not need any mathematics for investment banking. I would suggest researching what investment banking is and what it involves.

Oh that was already clear to me, I just thought that a lot of bankers tend to look at math skills as some kind of proxy for your logical thinking abillities?

Dec 27, 2015

He is a troll! Jonathan Sidwell is an investment banker in Suits

Dec 26, 2015

Very different fields.

That said, if you want to be a corporate lawyer and specialize in M&A it's a very profitable field....assuming you can get into a top tier law school(otherwise forget it). Just don't confuse it with investment banking.

Dec 26, 2015
Bigass_Spider:

Very different fields.

That said, if you want to be a corporate lawyer and specialize in M&A it's a very profitable field....assuming you can get into a top tier law school(otherwise forget it). Just don't confuse it with investment banking.

Thats not exactly my point. I just found out recently that investment banking is a career I might want to persue but I wonder how much of a chance you make with a law degree in stead of a degree in economics/math/engineering.

It probably is worth mentioning that I'm from the Netherlands and a key difference between the US and the Netherlands is that in the Netherlands you can go directly to law school after high school in stead of spending a few years in undergrad first.

Dec 26, 2015

Breaking into investment banking is mainly about networking. I don't think it matters what your degree is. You do not need knowledge of advanced mathematics to create models on Excel. I would recommend attending company presentations at your university if there are any. You can probably learn more there.

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Dec 26, 2015

Lol someone thinks they're going to be Mike Ross.

Sidwell, he was such a douchebag, but I loved him.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

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Dec 27, 2015

It's hard to break in. Have some friends at very top law schools (HLS, Yale, Columbia, etc.) who seriously struggle to find basic employment. You'd have to really really network and have some bsds push you through to an interview for a bank to want to spend time interviewing a JD. FWIW, it was a lot more common in the past, e.g. big man Lloyd himself.

Dec 27, 2015

I'm in the netherlands as well so I can comment on this. I spoke to a m&a MD a about a year a go who said people with law barely break into investment banking now day's. I have seen people on linked in who have worked in corporate/m&a law who then make the jump, but most people I know who break into IB here or in London have business/econ/science degrees.

Dec 27, 2015

Interesting posts.

In Australia, the most common profile for IBD analysts is a cookie-cutter double degree in Commerce and Law. Although, it is worth mentioning that practising law only requires an undergrad degree here.

Dec 29, 2015

This guy is not a troll, pretty sure about that. Btw, just thought of this recently, at erasmus, a lot of people get a business or econ degree with a law degree on the side and break into banking. Perhaps 2 masters or a business masters could help you. Also think of doing an corporate or financial law internship and afterwards trying to get an m&a internship. Could be a viable story if you manage to explain this all well.

Dec 29, 2015

you'd get in out of yale law...but yale is ridiculously hard to get into. thats what the author of FIASCO did.

lawyers are respected b/c their schooling gives them better skills than an mba does. but usually work experience is less, if there even is any

Dec 29, 2015

i've seen it happen its mostly because of affirmative action, you'd fare well taking this path.

Dec 29, 2015

Patekphilippe,

I don't know if that was an insult or casual comment, but if it was meant in a derogatory manner, grow up please.

Jimbo,

Who is the author of FIASCO?

"Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

Dec 29, 2015

frank partnoy...it's a good book, sort of an inferior remake of liar's poker

Dec 29, 2015

Yes, if you go to a good lawschool you could run for an associate position. However, you should try to do your summers at a transaction oriented bank like Simpson Thacher, Latham & Watkins etc.

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Dec 29, 2015

Yes, I've seen it. Some people have practiced M&A and then made the jump to banking, others have gone straight to banking. Just as an example, check out the breakdown at McKinsey between MBAs and APDs (JDs, MDs, PhDs, etc:)

http://www.apd.McKinsey.com/jump/meet.asp

Obviously, they poach a ton of HLS folks.

Dec 29, 2015

bump

Dec 29, 2015

I think you are definitely going to be in "banking limbo".

A job I took out of B-School was as a Sr. Associate in corporate finance, specifically within a consulting firms' investment banking/corporate finance arm. Anyway, there was someone in my training class that was a recent law school graduate. He got an entry level consultant position at our firm. He was miserable in training... just lost, couldn't keep up. I don't even think he lasted six months to be honest!

You are 1/2 way done with law school. Keep at it. I think you should go out and practice in a corporate & securities or M&A practice group. Once you start your law career and actually practice in the field you might change your perspective. Perhaps you've been burdened working your way thru law school, I dunno.

Also, although you're a finance undergrad, you have no direct relavent work experience to fall back on. The amount of time someone is going to have to spend to train you would make you an expensive candidate vs. someone straight out of undergrad with a solid internship under their belt.

How realistic are your chances of a summer analyst internship? I believe if you try to pursue a summer analyst position you're going to be wasting your time, wind up disappointed, further frustrated etc. Your best course of action is to pursue a summer position within a corporate M&A group. Albeit, you can at least get some kind of transaction experience. Listen, just bite the bullet, keep the law studies going... get out and practice law for at least 2 years. In the interim, network, network, network and then maybe, just maybe someone may cut you a break down the road... i.e. if you find you still desire banking... you might wind up liking law after all. Give yourself that chance!

[My intention isn't to sound like a bitch... mean no disrespect.]

Dec 29, 2015

I feel for ya man...if you do decide to go into corporate law/M&A, it sucks! The lawyers work as hard as or harder than the bankers, and don't get paid as much!

But I do think that working in the corp fin division at a big law firm would be your ONLY shot at getting into banking a little later down the road.

I was talking to a lawyer friend about that very topic the other day, and he unfortunately seemed to think that that scenario is highly unlikely to work nowadays.

On the other hand...Wasserstein was a lawyer at Cravath before becoming Wall Street's reigning Master of the Universe. Maybe you can be, too.

Dec 29, 2015

Why are your grades below average at a 2nd tier law school? If you wanted to score a banking gig as an associate, your best bet would have been to pull down a 3.8+, get on law review, score a summer associate position at a big firm in NYC, and then after 2 or 3 years attempt to lateral over to a bank as an associate.

Dec 29, 2015

aadpepsi - Thanks for your response. I did not feel disrespected at all. Even though it's obviously not what I wanted to hear, I can't say that I didn't expect it.

TireKicker - I appreciate your response as well. In light of your friend's opinion that it is highly unlikely to lateral over, I do feel better knowing that a guy from my law school successfully made the transition a few years ago.

Ronald R - I suppose that your suggestions regarding the general path from law school to banking are helpful in the context of the general topic. However, I think to take a pot shot at me like you did in the first sentence of your post is unnecessary and is certainly in no way helpful.

Dec 29, 2015
Rusty4:

I do feel better knowing that a guy from my law school successfully made the transition a few years ago.
...........
However, I think to take a pot shot at me like you did in the first sentence of your post is unnecessary and is certainly in no way helpful.

this board is not to make you "feel better" buddy....of cousre his potshot was unnecessary and unhelpful. so is all kinds of stuff in life. deal with it!

Dec 29, 2015

4 years ago, firms used to recruit lawyers straight out of law school into IBD (sometimes even to associate positions).
I have no idea to what extent, if at all, this still happens but you may wish to look into it. If you have a finance background and have top grades, I'm sure with enough effort, you'll be able to get a summer internship at an investment bank after your second year.

Dec 29, 2015

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Dec 29, 2015