Private Equity Lawyers

Note: I don't want to hear that I made a mistake going to law school lol. I'm comfortable with my decision and I have no interest in working in high finance in a technical capacity, but I do have an interest in working in high finance in a legal capacity.

Making this thread because I see a lot of lawyers working in Private Equity as Counsel and there seems to be a lack of information on how to break into these jobs.

Questions for Private Equity Lawyers (Specifically those that work for private equity or are doing secondment at a PE Firm)

  • Is there a pathway to work for a PE firm without firm experience?
  • Have you seen a PE firm take summer students for legal work?
  • What type of work do you actually do on a daily basis? Is it similar to the in-firm work?
  • Is the pay similar to in-house exit opportunities?
  • What made you go from firm work to in-house at a PE Firm?
  • For those that left, What made you leave Private equity? 

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Comments (7)

Most Helpful
Jan 12, 2021 - 2:16pm
  • Is there a pathway to work for a PE firm without firm experience?
    • Effectively no.  Most spend 2-6 years before making the switch, generally the longer you wait the better position you will obtain.
  • Have you seen a PE firm take summer students for legal work?
    • Only in one case, and it was a 1L family friend of a principal with no possibility of a return offer.
  • What type of work do you actually do on a daily basis? Is it similar to the in-firm work?
    • Tons of due diligence, document checklists, coordinating with specialty groups (e.g. tax, real estate).  You shephard paper to paper over a deal, none of which interests your clients.  You are a functionary and not paid to think.  
  • Is the pay similar to in-house exit opportunities?
    • Yes.
  • What made you go from firm work to in-house at a PE Firm?
    • Firms are up or out.  The overwhelming odds are that you will leave or be fired within six years of starting at a firm.
  • For those that left, What made you leave Private equity? 
    • You will not get many responses to this.  The legal market is extraordinarily saturated and beggars cannot be choosers.  Once you make the move to in-house, you almost never will go back to a firm. 

tl:dr  Law sucks, law school is a mistake 99% of the time (even for useless humanities majors), there is nothing "legal" about being a PE attorney (you are a glorified paralegal).  This is best case scenario: https://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=261392  

Apr 18, 2021 - 2:48pm

That this topic is fascinating and relevant. Legal education is very prestigious and in demand. But without experience, it will be challenging to find a job with good pay, especially after graduating from college.
I, too, after graduating from college, dreamed of becoming as famous and good a lawyer as https://www.thefloridatriallawyer.com/. This person has really reached great heights and is considered one of the best.
I haven't managed to become as popular yet, but I'm not giving up. In my first job, I got the minimum wage. Over time, it rose. 

Apr 18, 2021 - 5:14pm

AlexWilson

That this topic is fascinating and relevant. Legal education is very prestigious and in demand. But without experience, it will be challenging to find a job with good pay, especially after graduating from college.
I, too, after graduating from college, dreamed of becoming as famous and good a lawyer as https://www.thefloridatriallawyer.com/. This person has really reached great heights and is considered one of the best.
I haven't managed to become as popular yet, but I'm not giving up. In my first job, I got the minimum wage. Over time, it rose. 

Legal education is not prestigious. Admissions standards are at record lows. Far, far fewer Ivy League undergrads go than pre-2008 and the vast majority do not have white collar work experience, which did not used to be the norm.  A Yale Law degree has never been as low in value as it is today, with the brightest undergrads going into STEM, finance, consulting, or other fields. 
 

Legal education is not in demand.  Adjusted for inflation, big law pay has decreased since 2001 and there are fewer positions available as a proportion of new JDs.  Going to a non-T6 has never been this risky, and the lower T14 is taking a chance that may pan out very poorly.  The industry as a whole has contracted, with increased offshoring, increased work product being permitted by non-attorneys, and more billing taken in-house (less lucrative for the attorneys involved).  There is not a single desirable job outside of law that a JD assists you in obtaining that you could not have had without the degree.  To the extent it helps, there are far shorter and easier routes. 
 

I am assuming your are making a joke of that attorney, I don't care to view his profile in-depth.  He may do criminal as a solo, but it is the solo litigators in medmal and sometimes criminal that make the most, more than corporate attorneys by a long-shot.  Their "prestige" is nonexistent, their net worth can be astronomically higher. 

Apr 19, 2021 - 1:56am

^ super true. What I tell all underclassmen who did some random major in undergrad and wanna get bailed out by law school --> big law path. Legal work is the very very first line of work to get further automated as machine learning improves. Clerical jobs, kiss them good bye.

Most of the junior level work will be view liked how cashiers at grocery stores are 10 years from now. Bank on it.

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Apr 19, 2021 - 8:55am

Bankerconsu

^ super true. What I tell all underclassmen who did some random major in undergrad and wanna get bailed out by law school --> big law path. Legal work is the very very first line of work to get further automated as machine learning improves. Clerical jobs, kiss them good bye.

Most of the junior level work will be view liked how cashiers at grocery stores are 10 years from now. Bank on it.

It is very difficult to convince them out of going no matter what statistics, reports, and anecdotal you show them. It has take 20 years for an accurate outlook on a legal career to filter down.   You are correct that the useless undergrad major (even at decent schools, it is unemployable) a root cause. 
 

The ABA views itself as a consumer protection agency.  Whereas the AMA protects jobs, wants increased pay, and less liability, the ABA will throw all its members under the bus and gut the "profession" with the AI you speak of. 

  • Associate 3 in PE - Other
Apr 18, 2021 - 9:51pm
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