Move from City law into Private Equity (London)

I am currently thinking about a move from practice in a City law firm into private equity or work with a sovereign wealth fund (perhaps in the Middle East as I have lots of family in the region).

I graduated from Oxbridge with a law undergraduate and master's degree (both with distinction) and I'm nearing the end of my training contract at a top 5 London law firm. I cannot, however, see myself in the legal sector long term.

I would be very grateful for people's views on how easy / common it is to move from the legal sector into the above industries (especially private equity) and what the best route for this would be. Thoughts on entry point, career progression and salary for someone with my background would also be very helpful.

Not the easiest questions to answer, I appreciate, but all thoughts gratefully received.

Many thanks,

Chris

Comments (2)

 
Jan 25, 2016 - 5:52pm

Do you want to move into an in-house counsel role or looking to switch to an investment role? I am assuming the latter. Distressed investing is probably the only PE area where you see some lawyers in investment roles (they are still a small minority, but are visible) so if you have some expertise in restructuring, it might be an option. In any case, you should probably network with these ex-lawyers. Otherwise, I think you will find that without any kind of financial experience, it will be pretty much impossible to break in directly to PE. If you are really committed to PE, my advice would be to first target an investment banking role within a M&A group which are more receptive to lawyers, get 12-18 months of experience and then target PE roles.

Sovereign wealth funds are different though, the overall quality and availability of financial professionals in the Gulf is quite poor so funds are much less selective, especially for arabic speaking candidates. While not saying you'd be a shoo-in, with your background, I'm sure it would be 100x easier to get these funds to talk to you and I would say you would have a much better chance of getting a job than you would in London. I am not sure where you see yourself long-term, but the obvious drawback of working in the Gulf is that the experience you get there is looked poorly upon in developed markets so it can be quite hard to move back.

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