Insider Finance - Business - Wall Street: Big Law’s Wild West

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Hi. I'm Aaron Weinman. We've written a bunch about the junior Wall Streeters who held so much of the hiring power during the earlier years of the pandemic. Investment banks were inundated with deals and needed their juniors to do the bulk of the grunt work (spreadsheets and financial modeling, anyone?).

That script might have flipped for banks as dealmaking slows down, but it is well and truly alive at Big Law firms, a key cog in the Wall Street deal-making machine.

Legal industry professionals have said the competition is out of control, and law firms are dishing out offers to prospective candidates well ahead of schedule.

Law schools aren't happy about it, but too bad, they're allowing it.

Let's look into it.

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Three college kids walking on campus with a lasso coming in from the right getting ready to take one of them

1. Law firms are interviewing law school students about a year earlier than usual. The recruiting environment is akin to the "Wild West," according to one partner at a law firm who has been interviewing students.

Latham & Watkins, for example, now interviews students before they finish their first year of law school. Historically, Big Law has recruited and interviewed students at the start of their second year. Others, from Skadden to Davis Polk, have also made a significant number of early offers.

While this might give law firms a leg up on nabbing the best candidates, recruiters and student advisors said this rapid process is chaotic and unfair.

Some law firms have even pressured students to accept an offer before they have had a chance to test the waters and interview with other law firms. This raises the risk that these students might be a year into their post-law-school employment before they realize they've made the wrong decision.

While Big Law's early recruitment efforts are not exactly on the level of the NBA plucking talent out of high schools, it does back these young adults into a corner at a time when they might still be uncertain about what's next on their horizon.

Insider's Jack Newsham has the story on Big Law's tactics to lock in talent earlier than ever.

Plus, check out Insider Senior Correspondent Casey Sullivan's piece on how elite law schools are pushing students onto a "conveyor belt" of Big Law firms.

In other news:

Financial Services

2. Financial firms are still keen to hire advisors despite a slump in markets and geopolitical turmoil. Since business for wealth management spiked in 2020, it has yet to slow down. Here are 10 recruiters to know who have helped financial advisors make money moves.

3. Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX grew revenue 1,000% during crypto's heyday, according to leaked financials reported by CNBC. FTX, however, was one of the recipients of cease-and-desist letters from the FDIC, which called out crypto shops for making "false and misleading" statements that their customers' funds were insured.

4. Coinbase and Robinhood are massively diluting their investors by issuing more stock. The fintech darlings are doing this to retain colleagues and match their previously sky-high compensation packages, but the move dilutes value for existing shareholders.

5. More homebuyers are taking out adjustable-rate mortgages, betting that rates will drop in a few years. The strategy could save homeowners thousands of dollars, but it is still very risky in a rising-interest-rate environment.

6. Akili Interactive just went public in a Chamath Palihapitiya-backed special purpose acquisition vehicle. The company makes prescription video games for kids with ADHD, and in its filing, Insider found four key reasons Akili could be a risky bet for investors.

7. Staying with SPACs, many of the blank-check vehicles are running short on time to close deals with startups that hoped to go public. Here is why they are being delayed and why some might not get over the finish line.

8. One bright spot in fintech is the infrastructure-service providers, which are seeing more investors turn to the space. Here are 13 fintech service providers that startups are flocking to in a bid to cut costs.

9. Citi's global head of foreign exchange, Itay Tuchman, plans to leave after more than two decades at the bank, Reuters reported. Stuart Staley will replace Tuchman with immediate effect, according to an internal memo from Citi.

10. This summer, Wall Street's bosses are in the office while their employees hit the beach, the Wall Street Journal detailed in this piece. Managers hoping to coax workers back to the office are trading their ocean views for seas of empty desks.

Done deals:

  • India's Adani Power will buy thermal power plant operator DB Power for about $879 million. Adani Power is India's largest private thermal power producer.
  • Russian oil firm Lukoil has purchased Russian soccer club Spartak Moscow and the stadium where it plays its home games.

Curated by Aaron Weinman in New York. Tips? Email or tweet @aaronw11. Edited by Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.

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