Does anyone have their JD/CFA? If yes, what do you do? I’m taking LI in December and am waiting for the books.

My teacher in class does – peter olinto

I have a JD from an IVY and completed Level 1 of the CFA during the first semester of my 3L year (I completed a read-through of the Level 2 material during my second semester but could not take the exam because of my bar review course). The content of Level 1 is probably on par with what you would get if you completed an undergrad program in finance from a mid-tier university. I studied biology before law school but had taken courses in corporate finance and accounting prior to undertaking Level 1 and also have some work experience in finance. I studied Sep, Oct, and Nov and passed on my first attempt. If you have no coursework background and/or are numerically challenged (like most law students) I would suggest studying a bit longer. I will be entering BIGLAW in NYC. I am hoping to enter equity research or banking in the healthcare sector after a couple of years.

I’ve been out of law school for 8 years. My practice is Corporate Finance. I went back to school this year to study math. I hope three months will be fine. I am not working right now so i can study full time.

Three months should be fine - if you can do basic algebra you will be alright on the math side. If you are aiming for a banking position the CFA will not be of much use (only to show that you are at least serious about finance and have some aptitude). However, it would add to your total package - assuming you also have the pedigreed educational/firm credentials that banks seem to obsess over. I would not load up on the math courses unless you are interested in a more quant-oriented job (of course then you will be competing with people who have excellent, i.e. Ph.D., quant backgrounds). If you want to get into banking an MBA would likely help you more.

I don’t know exactly what I want to do with the CFA yet but I am curious why there are a lot of comments on here about how a CFA will not help you get into banking.

Because the CFA is largely geared toward portfolio management - banking is transaction driven. Some of the valuation techniques carry over but beyond that I think that having the “total package” that an MBA confers carries more weight. The CFA can’t hurt you (it can really only help) - however, it will not get you the job. In your case, with 8 years of experience, that will likely be your greatest asset. If you cannot parlay that (and all of the connections developed with banks after 8 years of working in corporate finance) into an offer or leverage your alumni connections it will be very tough to land a spot at a decent bank. It should be noted that I have very little direct experience with this topic (however, I think that I am somewhat knowledgeable). Think of it this way - you will be competing with other attornies with double-Ivy backgrounds from top-ten corporate firms that are dying to make the transition (and they have often been working first-hand with the deal teams and/or banks that they wish to join). Being from a top school or top firm buys some credibility - if you don’t have one or both of these it makes the road that much longer/tougher.

I livei n SF. The market’s a bit different here than NY/London – less opportunities but less competition. My education and work experience are excellent.

I think the competition is also pretty rigid in SF. But, if you have the credentials you should be fine. I have been e-mailing/contacting alumni and they are always happy to talk. If you have attended good educational institutions you should have the same luck - much better than going through HR. A lot of tech-minded bankers find their way to northern CA - SF, SV… Best of luck. I have put my search on hold for a year or two because I am somewhat risk averse (I need to know that I can rejoin BIGLAW if I get laid off from a bank).

I definitely do not want to do transactions. I am done sleeping with my Blackberry!! I am more research oriented. I don’t know what year you are but you should put 5 years into your legal career. That seems to be the year where you can come and go as you please because you have enough experience.

Thanks for the advice - I just graduated last May. I think that research is perfect for someone with a legal background - rigorous analytical skills, good writing… The CFA is good for equity research. Maybe you should take Level 1 in Dec and Level 2 in June. You might also think about trying to get an MBA in finance at Stanford or Berk - you could apply this fall and by the time you finished your first year you would be done with the CFA and have a great job lined up for the summer (and after graduation). Either of those schools would allow you to refocus your career very easily and would open many doors. In the meantime, try to get a position (you can always defer your admission if you land a good gig).

I am taking the Dec L1 and the June L2 (provided I pass L1).

That makes sense. I used Schweser exclusively for Level 1 and had no problem. I would suggest getting the study notes and using the CFAI texts for areas you do not understand.

I was planning on using the CFAI texts since I have lots of time to study. I will look into the Schweser notes. I’m also going to take the Harris review for FSA.

If you know everything from Schweser it will be more than sufficient to earn you a pass. Also, I did not spend much time taking practice tests - I took one from the CFAI website. Don’t build the test up too much - it is very straightforward - if you know the material you should pass. I think I finished both the morning and afternoon sessions with over 30 minutes left in each so there is ample time (if you know the formula or concept you will answer the question quickly and correctly, if not you are in trouble).

What law firm do you think you will go into – are you looking in nyc law firms?

I will be at a large (around 1000 attornies) firm in NYC.

curious to know what JD is… why people say that CFA is not that relevant to ‘banking’?..‘commercial banking’ i understand why it wont be relevant…but i hope people dont mean ‘Investment banking’ …

Juris Doctor (law degree)

curious as to why the words IVY and BIGLAW were capitalized?