Solicitor vs Investment Banker Watch

TSLW
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These are two careers that really interest me.
I'm naturally good at mathematics, and investment banking seems a good fit for that. However, I think it could get boring and repetitive (I'm not sure if I'm right/wrong on this, please correct me).
On the other hand, becoming a solicitor seems to be something I've always been interested in. I believe it could be a much more interesting job, compared to investment banking.
I also cope with stress pretty well, which, I've been told could come in useful as both jobs.

My main questions are:
1. What are the abilities to work abroad with these jobs to countries like the USA, Australia etc.?
2. What's the difference in salaries?
3. To any students who are thinking of beckming a solicitor or investment banker, what are your opinions?
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J-SP
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You probably couldn't get two more different types of jobs in terms of day to day responsibilities. Very few people will be interested in both careers once they find out the realities of both jobs - many are lured in by the money and prestige of both, but the day jobs are so different and play to very different strengths that in the end they rarely both work out for the same person.

Fortunately English law is used internationally a lot, so you are quite internationally mobile once you have gained experience in the UK and qualified. Lawyers tend to do secondments to other countries and work as English qualified lawyers. Some jurisdictions are more difficult than others, but the US and Australia are easier given the common language, and where they are larger commercial economies. For longer term work abroad you typically have to qualify in that jurisdiction though, which could mean further study/exams.

Solicitors pay vary massively. Trainee starting salaries can be as low as minimum wage and as high as £50k. Most large international commercial firms are somewhere between the £40-40k mark. Salary progression at city firms can be seen here: http://www.rollonfriday.com/InsideIn...8/Default.aspx.

You will probably earn more at an investment bank than you will a lawyer, especially once you factor in bonuses. Depends on what type of firm you end up working at though. Investment banks by the nature tend to be much bigger organisations with higher revenues/profits, and that is passed on to their employees in part. Although law firms are still large businesses (top firms bring in about $2.5 billion annually), it is a fraction of the size and scale of an investment bank.

Both are highly competitive to get into. Banking has high standards mainly due to the ridiculously high number of applicants to places. Law tends to set a really high benchmark, mainly where they have to make such a huge investment up front with your legal training and where they are exceptional risk adverse.


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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by TSLW)
These are two careers that really interest me.
I'm naturally good at mathematics, and investment banking seems a good fit for that. However, I think it could get boring and repetitive (I'm not sure if I'm right/wrong on this, please correct me).
On the other hand, becoming a solicitor seems to be something I've always been interested in. I believe it could be a much more interesting job, compared to investment banking.
I also cope with stress pretty well, which, I've been told could come in useful as both jobs.

My main questions are:
1. What are the abilities to work abroad with these jobs to countries like the USA, Australia etc.?
2. What's the difference in salaries?
3. To any students who are thinking of beckming a solicitor or investment banker, what are your opinions?
A solicitor sounds glamourous but isn't. It can be boring a repetitive. Training contracts are hard to come by and the pay is not good.

If you are good at maths do a maths degree and see where it takes you. My partner is a solicitor and does earn much. His daily routine is dull. He longs for the complicated cases to take the drudgery out of day to day working.

My daughter is doing a PhD in maths and has a wealth of opportunities
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roflcakes1
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Agree with J-SP above - these two careers are very different. I know a few people from uni who have tried looking into both and pretty much all the time it's because they're attracted to the money and prestige rather than anything about the career itself. This is not a bad thing necessarily - but I'd recommend taking some time to think about whether you are actually genuinely interested in both careers and the work involved. Try getting some work experience or talking to people who actually work in these careers (e.g. through uni career events, linkedin, any uni grads you know) to help you decide. And remember, if you're attracted to the prestige/high profile work/type of environment, there are loads of opportunities in a range of sectors you can try - although you'll definitely have to sacrifice salary for the most part.

Also agree with the other comment - I know a solicitor and a lot of the work can still be repetitive - drafting contracts, making continuous edits to a document according to client whims etc. And also think about what kind of law you want to go into and how that varies in terms of work you'll be doing. And remember that being a solicitor has one key difference which is the extra training/study involved, plus 2 years as a trainee before you qualify. This is quite different to an IB job - where I know a few friends who have done it for 5 years or so, made a bit of money, and used the prestigious experience to work in a more interesting job for them. It's harder to do as a solicitor if you get tired of the job/workload/pressure/environment because of the bigger initial commitment. But on the other hand it might make it more suitable as a long-term career choice as the impression I get with IB is that it's rare for people to stay on in the longer-term.
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