Solicitor vs Investment Banking (Private Equity) Watch

That'sGreat
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I am doing a History degree at Durham and was wondering about these two career options. Investment Banking (transition to PE after 2 years is the hope) is known to pay well, but the work life balance is terrible and it involves quite a bit of maths (though not so much as an analyst, more just grunt work). Law however, whilst paying less, does seem to have a better work life balance, and the idea of commercial law would mean I still get to work with big businesses, which would be my passion. I just had a couple questions

1) Do partners at top law firms earn more than partners/MDs at top bulge brackets? Or what’s the comparison?

2) How quickly can you make partner at a top law firm if you are good at your job and network efficiently?

3) Is commercial law a good area if you hope to break out into setting up your own business or advising start-ups?

Note: I understand it’s a career, you need to pick the one you like best. However, my passion is working with big businesses, and these both offer interesting perspectives into doing so
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by That'sGreat)
1) Do partners at top law firms earn more than partners/MDs at top bulge brackets? Or what’s the comparison?
You seem to be jumping a bit too far ahead here... do you even know what solicitors do in the 10-15 years it takes them to make partner?
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
You seem to be jumping a bit too far ahead here... do you even know what solicitors do in the 10-15 years it takes them to make partner?
Why? I don't see how that answers any of my questions
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by That'sGreat)
Why? I don't see how that answers any of my questions
There's no point asking about late-career salaries when you know nothing about whether you'd enjoy the dozen or so years of work that stand between you and those salaries, or indeed whether you'd be good at an any of that work.

These questions are all painfully first-year-esque.
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lawboi98
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(Original post by That'sGreat)
I am doing a History degree at Durham and was wondering about these two career options. Investment Banking (transition to PE after 2 years is the hope) is known to pay well, but the work life balance is terrible and it involves quite a bit of maths (though not so much as an analyst, more just grunt work). Law however, whilst paying less, does seem to have a better work life balance, and the idea of commercial law would mean I still get to work with big businesses, which would be my passion. I just had a couple questions

1) Do partners at top law firms earn more than partners/MDs at top bulge brackets? Or what’s the comparison?

2) How quickly can you make partner at a top law firm if you are good at your job and network efficiently?

3) Is commercial law a good area if you hope to break out into setting up your own business or advising start-ups?

Note: I understand it’s a career, you need to pick the one you like best. However, my passion is working with big businesses, and these both offer interesting perspectives into doing so
Why have you made the assumption that Commercial Law = fewer hours.

If you work at the top firms you can expect to work just as hard as in IB. Bankers aren’t up working when lawyers have gone off to sleep - how do you think the deals get seen through?
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lawboi98
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(Original post by That'sGreat)
I am doing a History degree at Durham and was wondering about these two career options. Investment Banking (transition to PE after 2 years is the hope) is known to pay well, but the work life balance is terrible and it involves quite a bit of maths (though not so much as an analyst, more just grunt work). Law however, whilst paying less, does seem to have a better work life balance, and the idea of commercial law would mean I still get to work with big businesses, which would be my passion. I just had a couple questions

1) Do partners at top law firms earn more than partners/MDs at top bulge brackets? Or what’s the comparison?

2) How quickly can you make partner at a top law firm if you are good at your job and network efficiently?

3) Is commercial law a good area if you hope to break out into setting up your own business or advising start-ups?

Note: I understand it’s a career, you need to pick the one you like best. However, my passion is working with big businesses, and these both offer interesting perspectives into doing
Another assumption you have made is overgeneralising the range of firms that operate within the umbrella of ‘commercial law’.

You could be earning £67k NQ at Gowling WLG or £143k at Latham - huge difference.
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by lawboi98)
Another assumption you have made is overgeneralising the range of firms that operate within the umbrella of ‘commercial law’.

You could be earning £67k NQ at Gowling WLG or £143k at Latham - huge difference.
I would have thought the term 'top law firms' was enough to tell you I was referring to top law firms.

Also, that's not an assumption
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by lawboi98)
Why have you made the assumption that Commercial Law = fewer hours.

If you work at the top firms you can expect to work just as hard as in IB. Bankers aren’t up working when lawyers have gone off to sleep - how do you think the deals get seen through?
Most sources indicate average working hours are less than IB analysts so it's at worst an educated assumption.
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
There's no point asking about late-career salaries when you know nothing about whether you'd enjoy the dozen or so years of work that stand between you and those salaries, or indeed whether you'd be good at an any of that work.

These questions are all painfully first-year-esque.
Considering I have not begun a first year, I'm not surprised they sound 'first-year-esque'.

You're asking questions that won't lead to any answers. You may as well ask what I had for breakfast this morning.

Whether or not I know what a solicitor does is irrelevant to the questions. Why is it a concern of yours? Just answer the questions or don't, it really isn't hard.
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by That'sGreat)
I would have thought the term 'top law firms' was enough to tell you I was referring to top law firms.

Also, that's not an assumption
Mills & Reeve was recently referred to as a 'top' law firm by a user on here. Does £40k NQ in the Shires still fit within the category of law firm you're looking at? What about Bristows and its 63k NQ? It's a top IP firm by most measures. Does that fit what you're looking for?

To put it bluntly: you're not getting anywhere with a 'money money money' mentality. Go get some work experience in both fields and compare & contrast. Someone who finds investment banking dull will find it difficult to stay on until the riches of MD; likewise, someone who hates corporate law will be sniffed out at a first round interview or during their training contract. The fact that even the graduates who were successful at getting these jobs either lose interest or burn out within a few years of joining should be a big red flag.
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
Mills & Reeve was recently referred to as a 'top' law firm by a user on here. Does £40k NQ in the Shires still fit within the category of law firm you're looking at? What about Bristows and its 63k NQ? It's a top IP firm by most measures. Does that fit what you're looking for?

To put it bluntly: you're not getting anywhere with a 'money money money' mentality. Go get some work experience in both fields and compare & contrast. Someone who finds investment banking dull will find it difficult to stay on until the riches of MD; likewise, someone who hates corporate law will be sniffed out at a first round interview or during their training contract. The fact that even the graduates who were successful at getting these jobs either lose interest or burn out within a few years of joining should be a big red flag.
Having just searched it up, Bristols ranks 74th when ranking the UK law firms - that is not a top firm. If I got the 74th best grades in my school, I wouldn't exactly be vying for an Oxbridge PPE position now, would I?

The only reason i'm not getting anywhere with a 'money money money' mentality is because people aren't answering the questions, instead choosing to ask irrelevant questions. Though, considering there were 3 questions, and only one was about money, it's more of a 'money, progression, exit ops' mentality, which I'll let you use next time you're choosing between jobs (its pretty much the most standard way to decide)

And thanks for highlighting how not liking your job often doesn't usually lead to being promoted to top positions, but I don't particularly see how that's relevant? You don't know my work ethic or interests, so it's an irrelevant and pretty crap point to make.
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Human_bean
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I am in agreement with everything JohanGRK has said so far.

You’re jumping from one big goal to another, but you need to understand that firstly, you’re studying history - you’ll need to update your qualifications to be in line for training to qualify for legal/IB careers (this is a process in itself, especially when you consider potential rejections and how much time that takes to correct).
And secondly, you speak so casually about things like working with businesses and making partner. A person doesn’t automatically work with big clients and just become partner by turning up to work everyday - you need to have a passion for the job and be remarkably good at what you do. And average time to make partner can range from 5-20 years even! That’s because there’s so many people who will have been working at the firm longer than you, wanting the same thing.

I think you need to look at things from the perspective of ‘where can I see myself having a fulfilling and ever advancing career?’ Rather than ‘where can I make the most money?’ People who choose the later, ironically, don’t always end up making the most money.

Good luck with whatever you do tho.
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
If you stopped being an imbecile for half a millisecond you'd realise that I'm giving you the correct questions to ask. Asking the right questions is far more important than getting (what are easily-Googleable) answers to the wrong questions. It would help if, instead of wearing your foundation-year ignorance with pride, you could learn some humility and appreciate the fact that some people have progressed further down both paths than you have, and thus may actually have a superior insight as to what you should and shouldn't care about.

I think that I'll stop here and wait for someone like flatlined to take care of you.
Quite ironic you calling me an imbecile when you're clearly struggling to comprehend 3 questions. A simple 'I don't know' (or even just not responding) would suffice.

Sorry to break it to you, but some people don't need to ask questions as basic as 'is commercial law hard to get into' and 'is commercial law a hard job'. I would have thought someone who is a lawyer (I expect you are considering your clear over-emotional attachment to your response) would be able to see that omitting information does not mean I don't know it. I don't see much point in my original post being a word-for-word synopsis of: what commercial law is, how hard is it to become a lawyer, what the burn out rate is (and whatever else you felt the need to tell me) from prospects.co.uk - If every post in this sub started like that it would be a pretty boring thread.

But I thank you for stopping there. Judging from your readiness to call me an imbecile for me refusing to give you every detail about my life, I fear my next response would push you into a mental breakdown.
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by Human_bean)
I am in agreement with everything JohanGRK has said so far.

You’re jumping from one big goal to another, but you need to understand that firstly, you’re studying history - you’ll need to update your qualifications to be in line for training to qualify for legal/IB careers (this is a process in itself, especially when you consider potential rejections and how much time that takes to correct).
And secondly, you speak so casually about things like working with businesses and making partner. A person doesn’t automatically work with big clients and just become partner by turning up to work everyday - you need to have a passion for the job and be remarkably good at what you do. And average time to make partner can range from 5-20 years even! That’s because there’s so many people who will have been working at the firm longer than you, wanting the same thing.

I think you need to look at things from the perspective of ‘where can I see myself having a fulfilling and ever advancing career?’ Rather than ‘where can I make the most money?’ People who choose the later, ironically, don’t always end up making the most money.

Good luck with whatever you do tho.
In case you decide to come back and answer one of my questions, I've bolded what I already know and hence don't need you to repeat (as your friend Johan has done repeatedly)
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999tigger
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
There's no point asking about late-career salaries when you know nothing about whether you'd enjoy the dozen or so years of work that stand between you and those salaries, or indeed whether you'd be good at an any of that work.

These questions are all painfully first-year-esque.
Ultimately you will regret and nothing will be taken in. Enjoy.
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The West Wing
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(Original post by lawboi98)
Why have you made the assumption that Commercial Law = fewer hours.

If you work at the top firms you can expect to work just as hard as in IB. Bankers aren’t up working when lawyers have gone off to sleep - how do you think the deals get seen through?
I reckon I work longer hours than the bankers I advise. The other thing is IB is very tough in the first few years but eases off a bit whereas being a solicitor seems to just get harder and harder
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Ultimately you will regret and nothing will be taken in. Enjoy.
What?
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Human_bean
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(Original post by That'sGreat)
In case you decide to come back and answer one of my questions, I've bolded what I already know and hence don't need you to repeat (as your friend Johan has done repeatedly)
Thanks for that. But I guess the reason these points are being reiterated is because they’re very important to consider before you even begin to think about the answers to the questions you have now.
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by The West Wing)
I reckon I work longer hours than the bankers I advise. The other thing is IB is very tough in the first few years but eases off a bit whereas being a solicitor seems to just get harder and harder
Literally the first person to provide any information of use. Thank you.

How long would you work a day then? 9am - 10pm?
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by Human_bean)
Thanks for that. But I guess the reason these points are being reiterated is because they’re very important to consider before you even begin to think about the answers to the questions you have now.
But that’s an assumption that I didn’t know it previously. And it wouldn’t stop them answering the questions.
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