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Investment Banker vs. Corporate Lawyer

ihateCAihateCA Posts: 1,656Registered User Senior Member
I have some questions...

1. Who gets paid better? Who works less?
2. Who has better business outlook?
3. Is experience as a banker valued at corporate law firms and vice versa?
4. How does one become a financial consultant?
5. Which is the most prestigious firm for M&A/Corporate finance?
6. Which would you choose?

Thanks for the input.
Post edited by ihateCA on

Replies to: Investment Banker vs. Corporate Lawyer

  • thatbiggbadwolfythatbiggbadwolfy Posts: 244Registered User Junior Member
    Ooooo, the top 2 earners after Graduate School/MBA.

    1. Corporate lawyers get paid six figures on average too--well at least the Partners. IB Vice Presidents and Managing Directors get paid $100K base pay, + bonus (anywhere from 6 figures to a million). Corporate Lawyer works less, but IBankers work less and less (in terms of ***** work) after they climb the business-culture hierarchy.

    2. (Patent lawyers have a very good business outlook). They both are pretty successful. Figure out, what the world needs more. (Wait, haha.. white collared crime vs. more lawyers)

    3. Of course. (Even Biology majors make good I-bankers.) Remember, analytical skills are a must for both professors: that's what they look for more. That and long hours.

    4. Start as Intern, become Analyst: then it depends on there.

    5. Goldman-Sachs. GS. "The Firm." Remember the legendary deal with Pfizer? Pfizer (Viagra, Lipitor, Zoloft, Listerine, Rolaids, Halls) acquired Pharmacia (Celebrex, Rogaine, Nicorette) in a $60 Billion dollar deal in 2000 (the money in stock). The M&A I-BANK of choice? Everybody's dream/slave job!

    6. Investment Banker + Goldman-Sachs.

    Want to know the top 25 Ibanks according to Vault?

    1 Goldman Sachs

    2 The Blackstone Group

    3 Morgan Stanley

    4 Lehman Brothers

    5 Citigroup Corporate & Investment Banking

    6 Lazard

    7 Merrill Lynch

    8 JPMorgan Chase

    9 Citigroup Inc.

    10 Credit Suisse Corporate & Investment Banking

    11 UBS Investment Bank

    12 Deutsche Bank

    13 Bear Stearns

    14 Greenhill & Co. LLC

    15 Banc of America Securities

    16 Rothschild

    17 Bank of America

    18 Barclays Capital

    19 Thomas Weisel Partners

    20 Wachovia

    21 Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein

    22 Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin

    23 HSBC Holdings

    24 CIBC World Markets

    25 Piper Jaffray Companies
  • jpps1jpps1 Posts: 1,993. Senior Member
    Note that some of those banks have strengths in certain areas...

    I think Bear Stearns has the best FI division, for example.
  • bipolarbearbipolarbear Posts: 79Registered User Junior Member
    You can skip out on an MBA, but a JD is pretty much required.
  • gonsenheimgonsenheim Posts: 390Registered User Member
    both are excellent professions and equally difficult to get into. it just depends on whether you are a qualitative creative thinker or a quantitative creative thinker.
  • sallyawpsallyawp Posts: 2,059Registered User Senior Member
    1. Who gets paid better? Who works less?

    First, you have to compare apples to apples, so let's talk about big NYC law firms versus big NYC investment banks (take GS, for example). You have to finish law school, get a JD and pass the bar exam before you can be a lawyer, and at the top firms in NYC, a starting lawyer makes $160,000 base salary plus bonus (probably $30,000-40,000). An analyst at an investment bank (right out of college) will often make less than this all in for the first 2-3 years. Generally, an analyst at an investment bank must go to business school for an MBA before that analyst will be promoted to associate (not always true). An analyst will make a lower base salary than their lawyer friends, but will make more overall with bonuses. Many investment banking associates will never make VP. Many law firm associates will never make partner (though that happens years later than the associate --> VP decisions). Later in their careers, many investment banking directors and managing directors will make millions of dollars, as will partners at top NYC law firms, though it is generally acknowledged that top investment bankers will make more money at that level overall.

    Both lawyers at top law firms and investment bankers can work extremely long hours, at least during the first 5-10 years of work. Neither one is "better" in this respect.

    Of course, one can always leave investment banking or big firm lawyering for greener pastures later on. Exit opportunities will vary considerably depending on one's actual experience, contacts and the economy as a whole.
    3. Is experience as a banker valued at corporate law firms and vice versa?

    An investment banker without a law degree can never become a lawyer at a big firm. A lawyer at a big firm can (and they often do) go to work at an investment bank.
    5. Which is the most prestigious firm for M&A/Corporate finance?

    Law firms or investment banks? In NYC, for law firms, it would clearly be Wachtell, Sullivan & Cromwell, Cravath and Davis Polk.
  • gonsenheimgonsenheim Posts: 390Registered User Member
    ^^Umm Skadden Arps is at the top of pretty much every league table out there.
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