Investment Advisor vs Attorney
Hello all, could I please get some advice?
I graduated from a local college back in May 2019 with a BBA in marketing with a 3.5 GPA . I currently work as a financial/investment advisor in a city of about 100,000 in ETX. I have been fortunate to work at a laid back and flexible company that is paying for all of my licenses. My boss is 63 and wants to retire in 5-7 years. In my year as an advisor, I have made wonderful connections and joined the Symphony Board. I could eventually take over.
However, I have always wanted to be a lawyer since I was a kid. I took the LSAT last year and scored a 145 after a few weeks of studying. With my GPA and LSAT, I could get into some lower tier schools, (Loyola- NOLA or St Mary's) however, I have a lot of connections in my small town and would not mind coming back to practice law. I do like the idea of going to New Orleans though.
So, my question is: what would you do if you were in my situation? Would you give up your dreams to end up running your own independent brokerage firm?
You guys all talk about being smart and well educated, so looking for some advice.
|by Young and Confused||reply 55||08/28/2020|
Country boys make do! And are the people offering advice going to be compensated ¿
|by Young and Confused||reply 1||05/22/2020|
I don't think anyone would advise going to a 2nd or 3rd tier law school. What type of law do you want to do? Unless there's something specific, like criminal prosecution or environmental law (both of which pay nothing), then why?
Many people go to law school because they don't know what they want to do - or infers some higher education degree. There are a lot of underemployed people with law degrees.
Sounds like you want to move somewhere else - that's the biggest draw for you. Could you open another branch of the office in a bigger city?
And what guarantees are there that you would inherit the business? You're awfully young.
|by Young and Confused||reply 2||05/22/2020|
Follow your gut and pursue your law degree.
Working at an investment brokerage firm will absolutely kill your soul, your creativity, your sense of humor, and your will to live over time.
|by Young and Confused||reply 3||05/22/2020|
R3 - he's been out of college for ONE YEAR. And have you ever seen attorneys at a firm / other? Talk about miserable people. It changes your personality and not in a good way. You end up being argumentative, suspicious, and the workload is intense and doesn't let up.
Working at a brokerage firm (at least this one) sounds like a walk in the park.
Do NOT go into over $100k-$150k in debt for a degree from a so-so institution. Particularly in this economic environment.
Again- Why do you want or have always wanted to go to law school? For some people, they watched way too many TV dramas. Other people want the prestige of having a law degree - totally not worth it.
The only upside of law school is that it is always good to have an understanding of law and process - but you can take specific classes for that.
|by Young and Confused||reply 4||05/22/2020|
R1 Do the Christian thing and be kind? LOL
R2 I might be able to. A plan of mine was to stay under his auspice, get my MBA (I got into William & Mary's online MBA program), and then when he retires buy his practice and move wherever. Maybe NOLA, maybe San Antonio, maybe Louisville, etc. I would not mind being a litigator.
R3 The older independent brokers/advisors play golf or tennis most days and do not seemed stressed.
R4 It is just something I have always wanted to do. Never saw myself doing anything else. This job landed in my lap.
I talk to the brokers and they tell me to go to law school. The lawyers tell me to stay in the brokerage business. They say I can make money even when not working, but attorneys have to deal with the beast of billable hours.
|by Young and Confused||reply 5||05/22/2020|
R4 I'm sorry you work at an investment brokerage firm.
|by Young and Confused||reply 6||05/22/2020|
R5 - Listen to the lawyers. I worked in a couple of law firms and in a DA's office while milling over whether to go to law school. I spoke with literally hundreds of attorneys in all types of law. Not a single one of them recommended it. 99% said don't do it. The 1% that were neutral had a ton of caveats added.
You can't say a career is something you've always wanted to do when you've never done it. That's just child fantasy. Your choices have to be grounded in some experience if you're going to spend that much money and years of your life devoted to it.
You're what - 23? Just sit tight and learn more at your current job. You are only 1 year out of college and don't know hardly anything about the business yet. You think you do, but trust me - you don't.
|by Young and Confused||reply 7||05/22/2020|
R7 Thank you for the insight.
Would you guys also recommend getting my MBA while I am learning the ropes? Is William & Mary a good school to get it from?
|by Young and Confused||reply 8||05/22/2020|
OP, why do you want to be a lawyer? Do you even know what the profession entails?
If you cannot get into a top-tier school, don't bother (unless you have connections that can guarantee you a position after graduation). If you are lucky and manage to get a job, you will be working long hours doing legal grunt work for several years. That's if you are lucky as law firms have fully embraced AI technology for research and document review functions which has led to many entry-level positions being shed. If you have connections, you can possibly secure a position in a corporate Legal department. Most corporations; however, typically only hire someone with useful experience - either experience repping their industry or experience at another company in the industry. You'll probably hate corporate Legal work, too. Mountains of work, bad hours, and everyone up and down the chain bombarding you with questions.
Most lawyers are miserable people, with good reason. Even so, they are lucky to have their jobs as the market is terrible and it will only continue to worsen. Please, do not waste your money on law school unless it is absolutely your calling.
|by Young and Confused||reply 9||05/22/2020|
Perhaps you should take a career aptitude test? It sounds as if you believe you need an advanced degree, but do not really know what you want to do.
Re MBAs, they age poorly and quickly unless you can get into a decent school that ensures you will make valuable connections.
|by Young and Confused||reply 10||05/22/2020|
R8 - it's an OK school. But I don't believe you get as good of an education online - particularly for an MBA.
What do you need an MBA for? Prestige? It sounds like you could learn most of what you need to know in the brokerage company.
I guess I'm steering you away from any additional degrees unless it is absolutely necessary. Like law degrees, there are a ton of people with MBAs from so-so schools that are underemployed as well.
What's driving all of this? I know there is a desire to get on some sort of track in your 20's, but there can be a lot of missteps. Is there a path for learning more in your current job? If not, can they create one - or you take the initiative and discuss it with them?
Or do you just want to move out of your hometown? I understand that - you live in a small city. But think very hard before you get yourself into a ton of debt just because you feel you need / want a higher education degree. Unless you're going to a top 20 school, it is very difficult to justify another degree.
|by Young and Confused||reply 11||05/22/2020|
[quote]Follow your gut and pursue your law degree. Working at an investment brokerage firm will absolutely kill your soul, your creativity, your sense of humor, and your will to live over time.
And working at a law firm is so life affirming. As if. Private practice is soul-crushing and often mind-numbing, dull torture. And working for the government pays too little unless you luck into a judgeship or U.S. attorney job.
|by Young and Confused||reply 12||05/22/2020|
^^And dealing with legal client's? Get ready for long, long, boring stories with few relevant facts. And people who call on the phone who "just have a quick question" totally outside your area(s) of practice and get pissed off when you won't answer their questions.
Client will asks the same questions over and over. This isn't because they don't understand. They are trying to get you to tell them what they want to hear because many just want you to sanction their already-chosen course of action. So, when it backfires, they have YOU to blame.
|by Young and Confused||reply 13||05/22/2020|
R11 I see your points. I have always wanted to be the owner of my own business and help people. In college, I clerked for a law firm and loved it. I also interned for a loan company and realized I hated it. The advising side is what I like the most, rather it be in the legal or financial sectors. I am not a salesman and never want to be a salesman.
Just like the stock market, nothing in life is guaranteed. I would prefer an MBA from a recognized school in case I end up moving to a new city. I will be more marketable.
My boss and me are the only advisors at our firm. We are super small but manage a lot of money. He wants a succession plan. From my research, the legal market is saturated, but advisors are mostly Baby Boomers and do not have a succession plan. The younger folks want to start hedge funds and stuff. The job growth rate is higher for advising.
Worst case, I will find a SD in law or finance because I am young, blonde, and 150 lbs. LOL Jk-No man is ever going to support me.
|by Young and Confused||reply 14||05/22/2020|
Sorry if I am sharing too much info. I am just trying to figure life out. sometimes it is better to talk anonymously.
|by Young and Confused||reply 15||05/22/2020|
Why not OP? Lower pay! Longer hours! Required minimum time! Be treated like a lackey for the foreseeable future!
|by Young and Confused||reply 16||05/22/2020|
9/10. Deducted 2 pts for making the LSAT too low, gave back 1 pt when you provided your weight.
|by Young and Confused||reply 17||05/22/2020|
R17 " 'This looks like the start of a beautiful friendship' - Humphrey Bogart, Casablance" - Lee J Cobb, The Exorcist
Got kik, or twitter or What's App?
|by Young and Confused||reply 18||05/22/2020|
OP, there are a lot of relevant jobs for law school graduates, who might not practice law in a private firm or criminal system. My brother got a law degree and he did three things with it: he worked as the head of Compliance at a huge real estate holding company that included a large hotel chain; he also taught constitutional law; and he had a private practice with which he did almost nothing.
I can see a law degree being really valuable as the owner of an investment firm. If you specialize in related law.
I don’t get a sense that you know what area of law you are interested in, which is not good. It’s like hearing “I want to get a science degree”. It makes me think you should try to become more specific.
I hear awful things from people who get law degrees, but I don’t know if that’s significant.
What happens in 10 years if the current owner gives the business to his idiot son-In-law, and you didn’t get your law degree? Have you considered that?
The existing owner might give you a “leave of absence” to attend school. I got one for a year once. I got no salary on leave, but I kept my medical insurance and accrued seniority while away, so it worked well for me. Much better than Just quitting.
|by Young and Confused||reply 19||05/22/2020|
[quote]OP, there are a lot of relevant jobs for law school graduates.
Wrong. That's usually looked upon as "failed attorney." And real teaching jobs (not low-paid "adjuncts") have fierce competition due to all the burn-out lawyers seeking wanting to escape the hell that is the practice of law.
|by Young and Confused||reply 20||05/22/2020|
R19 - how old is your brother?
|by Young and Confused||reply 21||05/22/2020|
There's really good advice above, OP. Don't get another degree just to scratch that itch -- do it because you have a solid career plan in place.
And law school isn't it. You lost me at "lower tier." Most of my friends will say that if you can't get in to a T-10 school, don't go. I'm not as stringent: you can have a decent career coming out of a T-15 school or, if you finish in the top 25% of your class, the state flagship school. But neither of these are guaranteed: I know people who went to T-10 schools who now work for federal prisons (not too bad: it's federal, and there's loan forgiveness), and plenty of folks who landed the big law job just to be forced out after 3 or 5 or 7 years and are struggling. I also know a few JDs who returned to school for MLS degrees and now work as law librarians. Bottom line: Loyola or St. Mary's isn't going to cut it.
It sounds like you may have an inside lane as an Investment Advisor. My friends who went this route say that the first few years suck hard. There is no way to work smarter - no edges, no shortcuts, no margins that haven't been discovered. You are massively underpaid for how hard you work. But if you survive those first 5-7 years, you are massively overpaid the rest of your career. If you have a good chance of inheriting a book of clients, you're golden.
|by Young and Confused||reply 22||05/22/2020|
You didn’t explain the essential question of why you would want to be a lawyer.
|by Young and Confused||reply 23||05/22/2020|
R23 I thought I did, my apologies.
I always liked reading, writing, and communication. The practice of law would be academically stimulating, too. You can also help people.
My job now is not bad at all. I have no debt (except my car) and a great, flexible job that allows me to communicate and do math. I also would not mind teaching finance or math at a junior college during the afternoon/evening. Another reason to get a masters. I have gotten a little used to not really having a boss though.
|by Young and Confused||reply 24||05/22/2020|
R19 Complete Bullshit. Everyone talks about other jobs for lawyers. If you talk to those lucky few they transitioned after a long and successful legal career. Unless they have family connections. People will only think of you as a lawyer. If you attend a low tier law school you are severely limited in career options. Lawyers are miserable. As a female attorney I can guarantee that.
|by Young and Confused||reply 25||05/22/2020|
OP - what makes you think that he would give you his business? Wouldn't he be more apt to sell his client book to another investment advisor instead of giving it away for free to you - a non-family member?
I think you are assuming a hell of a lot after one year. What have you learned? What are your tasks today? A friend of mine was working for an investment advisor and she was basically doing menial tasks - like mailing out statements and stock transactions.
And - just to snap you out of it - 145 is a horrible score on the LSAT. You should have at least a 160 - and that's a BIG 15 point gap.
|by Young and Confused||reply 26||05/22/2020|
The LSAT is the bitchiest of standardized tests. 150 is average, the 50th percentile. The 51st through 89th percentiles are all crammed in between the numbers 151 and 159. 90-99th are given the finer gradations between 160-180.
(145 is "90% chance of flunking the bar exam" territory, which is why it's funny so many people think this is real.)
|by Young and Confused||reply 27||05/22/2020|
R21, my brother just retired at 92.
R20, R25, for the most part, he liked the job, reported to the head of the company, travelled the world, and made $600,000 base salary plus bonus. He lives in a relatively inexpensive part of his state, so that money goes far. That’s not failed in my book.
He’s smart and people like him. I think he might have an MBA, too, but his legal degree is from a state school.
|by Young and Confused||reply 28||05/22/2020|
^ my brother is 62, not 92.
|by Young and Confused||reply 29||05/22/2020|
The new world is a different place for new attorneys Pierre. Your brother graduated from law school about 35 years ago - and it was a good time.
That's no example of what will happen today.
|by Young and Confused||reply 30||05/22/2020|
R26 He has already lets me handle his C and D list clients. He wants me to inform him of any updates in their life that occur, but as far as trading and asset allocation, he trusts me. I do communicate what I’m thinking of doing and he steers me in the right direction.
I would also buy his book, I believe. There is no free handouts in life. Plus, as a client, would you want the protege you built a relationship with or a completely new person?
This post is not to bash either profession, I just wanted your opinions given the two options I laid before you.
Most people think I’m Gordon Gekko anyways LOL
|by Young and Confused||reply 31||05/22/2020|
OP, if you've always wanted to be a lawyer then go to law school. Go the the best one that accepts you. I have 1.5 lawyers in my family and know several others. After several years in corporate law my nephew started his own firm and his daughter, with a passion for law, is in college right now with the intent of joining his firm. My nephew, one of the most brilliant and honest people I know, has been successful from the start.
I know others who have law degrees and do work in related fields using their skills. I didn't ever think of going to law school myself but during my career I had to consult with lawyers and thought I would enjoy the field. It's one that keeps you on your toes and you don't have to retire unless you want to. Just make sure you practice in a type of law you find fascinating.
Also, a friend's daughter just finished law school. her first job, in DC pays $15,000 a month. She went to law school sever years after graduating from university and working in another career. Even if you got and end up changing careers anyway, the knowledge you gain will always be useful.
|by Young and Confused||reply 32||05/22/2020|
I used to do a bit of real estate in Louisiana and was charmed by the fact that they used Napoleonic Law for RE Closings, deeds and docs. Is this still the practice? I was dealing in the 1990'2 - 2,000's.
|by Young and Confused||reply 33||05/23/2020|
Who the fuck dreams of being a lawyer as a kid? It sucks unless you're this guy.
|by Young and Confused||reply 34||05/23/2020|
OP, how does your firm charge for their services? Is it an AUM fee and how much? Or do you sell commission based products (load funds)?
|by Young and Confused||reply 35||05/23/2020|
R35 We take a percent of AUM (ranging from 0.75% to 1.25%) and it is around $50M. We do not sell commission based funds. However, some I might be studying for my insurance license.
|by Young and Confused||reply 36||05/23/2020|
OP, be practical. Unless you can get a scholarship to law school, or your employer to pay for it, why do you want to go to law school?
Law school is expensive, and it seems you already have a nice career and are on a good trajectory. You don't seem to have a real justification for even wanting to get a JD other than it being something you said you would do as a clueless kid.
You have to do a cost/benefit analysis. Look at the debt it would take you to get a law degree, are the likely benefits from a lower-tier law school really worth it?
|by Young and Confused||reply 37||05/23/2020|
Which law school did your niece attend r32? The people who land these high paying gigs out of law school are generally the people who went to "name brand" law schools, not lower-ranked ones.
|by Young and Confused||reply 38||05/23/2020|
If you have decent career prospects now, it would probably not be worth it to go to school unless you went to a top tier, not lower tier school.
Being a lawyer is NOT what it looks like on TV and definitely not for associates in their early years.
If you're determined to try, perhaps go to a school that does weekend/evening courses, especially if you plan to stay local. It'll take longer, but the economic impact will be lower and you can continue to see where your current career goes.
Finally, you may want to consider an MBA. Most of those definitely have "executive MBA" programs targeted for working professionals. There are numerous DL thread on MBAs.
Best piece of advice:
- Find someone from your undergrad (ask a friend if they know someone, for example) who actually went to law school and see what they say about law school and how it compares to their expectations vs. the reality of going.
- Contact the law schools to which you want to apply. Ask them if they have alumni contacts willing to speak to prospective students. Many of them have programs specifically to do so. You can setup short (30 min) informational calls with them. Especially now while work is slower for many people, they'll be willing to speak to prospective candidates. Be certain to have specific questions, do go snipe hunting or ask absurdly open-ended questions. Be gracious - remember they might be providing feedback to the school on your discussion.
- Contact you local professional associations for lawyers - there are probably several. See if they can assist with speaking to practicing lawyers in your area. Again, same suggestions as for law school alums.
|by Young and Confused||reply 39||05/23/2020|
^^^that's DON'T go snipe hunting.
|by Young and Confused||reply 40||05/23/2020|
Also East Texas is no place for a young gay guy, now that you are building up your resume you'll want to start looking into jobs in a better metro area. You can probably get more money and have a greater career ceiling as well.
|by Young and Confused||reply 41||05/23/2020|
Oh, one other point.
Historically, after significant economic upheavals and downturns, applications to graduate programs skyrocket and admissions become a LOT harder. Wherever you *think* you might have gotten in before this fiasco started, you may have to revise your expectations.
Second, like most demographic bubbles, employment once you complete your degree will also be more difficult as people with substantially better credentials who might not otherwise have gone to school (law, business, or other) will be in the market at the same time as you once you complete your degree. Be aware that getting a job at the other end will be a lot tougher.
|by Young and Confused||reply 42||05/23/2020|
Hi OP, please take my advice, as I am originally a country bumpkin too. I went to college in FL and graduated with a double major of Finance/Spanish in the late 80s, from a state school.
I was lucky enough to get a job at an international bank in NYC because I was handsome and personable. The hiring officer liked me and was also gay! Hooray. I was the only one not from Brown, Harvard and Columbia working at this bank. The level of entitlement and arrogance of these young men was considerable, most from privileged backgrounds. Five years into the job the NY office was closed and we all got a very generous severance deal. I was able to apply and go to a mid tier law school because I didn't know what else to do. The jobs in NYC in banking were hard to come by and having a lucky break a second time was not something to wait for. I thought additional education is never a bad thing.
Fast forward I am now 21 years working as a NYC govt. attorney with great benefits and a pension. The year I was hired, most new attorneys came from mid tier schools in NYC and the surrounding states. Today, my starting level position attracts graduates from Harvard, Columbia and all the other top schools. This was not the case when I graduated, not even close. The top tier law school graduates starting applying for the same entry level positions about 7 years ago. I would have a lot harder time landing the same entry level position today with the same qualifications.
Today I earn a good salary and have seniority to make it through the Covid crisis until retirement. I was fortunate to land this job because the private firms were only hiring from top tier schools and I never once thought about that before I even applied to school. Had someone explained everything to me, I would have probably bailed and never applied at all.
Sometimes a career is full of lucky breaks and knowing when to take them. Today's employment prospects for young attorneys are dire, and unless you come from a top tier school the jobs are not there.
Would I apply to law school today and go to a mid or lower tier school, the answer is no, because employment prospects for govt jobs will be much more competitive with fewer openings.
|by Young and Confused||reply 43||05/23/2020|
OP read "The Case of the Speluncean Explorers" before you even consider law school. It is a primer for the intellectual heft of law school.
|by Young and Confused||reply 44||05/23/2020|
OP, only go to a law school in a city or state where you want to settle. Your classmates will be your first professional network and the reputation of the law school will be best in its geographic location.
Second, Law schools are not created equal. A JD from a lower tier school will be worthless and your options will only be to start your own law practice.
Finally, and most importantly, if you take out student loans it will take two decades to get a return on your investment.
Otherwise, go for it -- as much as lawyers are reviled, they will always be needed.
|by Young and Confused||reply 45||05/23/2020|
OP, I didn't have the patience to read the whole thread, but want to comment nevertheless. I don't work in investment, but I am trying to get into it. By what I have seen it is far more lucrative than law — investments are international, capital is a global phenomenon, you could go very far, advising HNWI (high net worth individuals) who are mobile and live anywhere. There is a lot of freedom with that, you don't dependent on a structure. 'Wealth Management' is an excellent area to get into.
On the other hand, law is very country specific and you will be stuck depending on others for career progress, unless you choose an area connected to investments/finance such as for instance Tax Law.
MBAs are a dime-a=dozen and a bit too generic, you would need something that would help you stand out. Why not get investment qualifications such as the CFA?
|by Young and Confused||reply 46||05/23/2020|
OP, on average, how much time per year do you spend on a client's portfolio including meeting with the client, doing paperwork, etc? Whose job is it to bring in new clients?
|by Young and Confused||reply 47||05/23/2020|
OP, one more question, do you have standard portfolios you use based on a clients risk tolerance? I'm assuming you don't customize a portfolio for each individual client.
|by Young and Confused||reply 48||05/23/2020|
Your LSAT score is even low for those schools.
Retake the LSAT. Your LSAT score is the top factor in determining the amount of scholarship money you're offered. It's simply a matter of learning the test. I got a 142 the fist time that I took it. When I retook it, I got a 158. I got into several solid schools and ended up going to DePaul who offered me a generous scholarship.
|by Young and Confused||reply 49||05/23/2020|
[quote] I retook it, I got a 158.
When was that, in 1990?
|by Young and Confused||reply 50||05/24/2020|
10 years ago. That's a long time, the market has changed considerably with COVID-19
|by Young and Confused||reply 52||05/24/2020|
[quote]And have you ever seen attorneys at a firm / other? Talk about miserable people. It changes your personality and not in a good way
I used to be a legal assistant, and I can attest to this being true. I have never worked with such lying, manipulative, sleazy assholes as when I worked with attorneys. And they are definitely miserable (and deranged).
|by Young and Confused||reply 53||05/24/2020|
R52 LSAT grades are still the top factor for determining scholarship/acceptance.
|by Young and Confused||reply 54||05/24/2020|
OP here. Sorry for the delayed response.
I have decided to not go to law school. There are too many lawyers, it seems boring, and that is three years of no income. I could make $10,000 off of a big annuity contract. All mine, no split between another broker.
However, I am looking to move to a semi-big city for a bit. Maybe Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, or even Memphis. I also started my MBA online. I chose William and Mary over Purdue and Syracuse, but now kind of regretting it.
I feel like I keep making the wrong decisions on everything though.
|by Young and Confused||reply 55||08/28/2020|